NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India Sharad Arvind Bobde, who is due to retire on April 23, a year after holding the top post of the Supreme Court, has picked Justice Nuthalapati Venkata Ramana as his successor and recommended to the Centre that he be appointed as the new Chief Justice of India.
He has sent the recommendation abiding by the principle that the senior-most judge of the Apex Court be the CJI as per the Memorandum of Procedure governing appointments to the higher judiciary.
CLEAN CHIT: Before recommending Justice Ramana's name, the CJI also cleared the air about the allegations of corruption levelled against him. A short statement issued by the top court said: "A complaint dated 6th October, 2020, sent by the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh to the Supreme Court was dealt with under the In-House Procedure and, the same, on due consideration, stands dismissed."
"It be noted that all the matters dealt with under the In-House Procedure being strictly confidential in nature, are not liable to be made public," the statement added.
A shadow of doubt was cast on elevation of Justice Ramana after Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy wrote a letter to the CJI and the Prime Minister in October last year alleging that the judge was conspiring against him.
It was alleged in the letter to Bobde that ‘a senior Supreme Court judge’ had been influencing the sittings of Andhra Pradesh High Court and acting in the interests of Telugu Desam Party. An outlandish allegation was also made that the Andhra Pradesh High Court was being used to "destabilise and topple’’ Reddy’s democratically elected government.
Justice Ramana, who has completed a long stint of seven years as a judge in the Supreme Court, will have a tenure of over 16 months as the CJI up to 25.08.2022. The Government normally picks the CJI, but Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad wrote to Justice Bobde seeking his recommendation.
Justice Ramana, who hails from a farmer family of Andhra Pradesh joined the judiciary in June 2000 as a permanent judge of Andhra Pradesh High Court. He was also its Chief Justice for three months in 2013 and elevated as the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court on 02.09.2013. He was elevated to the Apex Court on 17.02.2014.