SC Collegium-


By PTI

NEW DELHI: Expression of views by a candidate proposed for judgeship does not disentitle him from holding a constitutional post as long as he has competence, merit and integrity, the Supreme Court Collegium has said while reiterating its recommendation for the appointment of advocate Somasekhar Sundaresan as a judge of the Bombay High Court.

The three-member Collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, noted the apex court body had recommended Sundaresan’s name for judgeship on February 16 last year and, on November 25, 2022, the government had sought reconsideration.

“The ground on which reconsideration of the candidature of Shri Sundaresan has been sought is that he has aired his views in the social media on several matters which are the subject matter of consideration before the courts,” said a statement uploaded on the apex court website.

It said, “Having considered the objection to the candidature of Shri Somasekhar Sundaresan, the Collegium is of the view that the views on social media attributed to the candidate, do not furnish any foundation to infer that he is biased.”

It said the issues on which opinions have been attributed to him are in the public domain and have been extensively deliberated upon in the media.

“The manner in which the candidate has expressed his views does not justify the inference that he is a ‘highly biased opinionated person’ or that he has been ‘selectively critical on the social media on the important policies, initiatives and directions of the Government’ (as indicated in the objections of Department of Justice) nor is there any material to indicate that the expressions used by the candidate are suggestive of his links with any political party with strong ideological leanings,” the statement said.

It said all citizens have the right to free speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

“Expression of views by a candidate does not disentitle him to hold a constitutional office so long as the person proposed for judgeship is a person of competence, merit and integrity,” the statement said.

ALSO READ | Govt can’t repeatedly send back proposals, says SC Collegium

It said Sundaresan has specialised in commercial law and would be an “asset” to the Bombay High Court which has a large volume of cases of commercial and securities laws, among other branches.

“The Department of Justice has adverted to paragraph 175 of the Second Judges Case to the effect that the candidate to be selected must possess high integrity, honesty, skill, high order of emotional stability, firmness, serenity, legal soundness, ability and endurance. The candidate fulfils these qualities,” the statement said.

It said the Collegium is of the considered view that Sundaresan deserves to be appointed as a judge of the Bombay High Court.

“The Collegium, therefore, resolves to reiterate its recommendation dated February 16, 2022, for appointment of Shri Somasekhar Sundaresan, advocate, as judge of the Bombay High Court,” it said.

The statement also noted that the Collegium of the Bombay High Court had on October 4, 2021, recommended Sundaresan’s elevation.

The top court has often voiced displeasure over the alleged delay by the Centre in clearing the names recommended by the Collegium for appointment as judges to the Supreme Court and high courts.

At a hearing on January 6, the apex court had said it is a “matter of concern” that the government is sending back the names reiterated by the Collegium for judgeship in constitutional courts despite there being nothing in the present scenario to prevent the appointment post reiteration.

ALSO READ | ‘Collegium law of the land, has to be followed’: SC raps Centre over NJAC 

NEW DELHI: Expression of views by a candidate proposed for judgeship does not disentitle him from holding a constitutional post as long as he has competence, merit and integrity, the Supreme Court Collegium has said while reiterating its recommendation for the appointment of advocate Somasekhar Sundaresan as a judge of the Bombay High Court.

The three-member Collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and also comprising Justices S K Kaul and K M Joseph, noted the apex court body had recommended Sundaresan’s name for judgeship on February 16 last year and, on November 25, 2022, the government had sought reconsideration.

“The ground on which reconsideration of the candidature of Shri Sundaresan has been sought is that he has aired his views in the social media on several matters which are the subject matter of consideration before the courts,” said a statement uploaded on the apex court website.

It said, “Having considered the objection to the candidature of Shri Somasekhar Sundaresan, the Collegium is of the view that the views on social media attributed to the candidate, do not furnish any foundation to infer that he is biased.”

It said the issues on which opinions have been attributed to him are in the public domain and have been extensively deliberated upon in the media.

“The manner in which the candidate has expressed his views does not justify the inference that he is a ‘highly biased opinionated person’ or that he has been ‘selectively critical on the social media on the important policies, initiatives and directions of the Government’ (as indicated in the objections of Department of Justice) nor is there any material to indicate that the expressions used by the candidate are suggestive of his links with any political party with strong ideological leanings,” the statement said.

It said all citizens have the right to free speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.

“Expression of views by a candidate does not disentitle him to hold a constitutional office so long as the person proposed for judgeship is a person of competence, merit and integrity,” the statement said.

ALSO READ | Govt can’t repeatedly send back proposals, says SC Collegium

It said Sundaresan has specialised in commercial law and would be an “asset” to the Bombay High Court which has a large volume of cases of commercial and securities laws, among other branches.

“The Department of Justice has adverted to paragraph 175 of the Second Judges Case to the effect that the candidate to be selected must possess high integrity, honesty, skill, high order of emotional stability, firmness, serenity, legal soundness, ability and endurance. The candidate fulfils these qualities,” the statement said.

It said the Collegium is of the considered view that Sundaresan deserves to be appointed as a judge of the Bombay High Court.

“The Collegium, therefore, resolves to reiterate its recommendation dated February 16, 2022, for appointment of Shri Somasekhar Sundaresan, advocate, as judge of the Bombay High Court,” it said.

The statement also noted that the Collegium of the Bombay High Court had on October 4, 2021, recommended Sundaresan’s elevation.

The top court has often voiced displeasure over the alleged delay by the Centre in clearing the names recommended by the Collegium for appointment as judges to the Supreme Court and high courts.

At a hearing on January 6, the apex court had said it is a “matter of concern” that the government is sending back the names reiterated by the Collegium for judgeship in constitutional courts despite there being nothing in the present scenario to prevent the appointment post reiteration.

ALSO READ | ‘Collegium law of the land, has to be followed’: SC raps Centre over NJAC 



Source link