SC judge objects to elevation of Rajasthan HC chief justice

New Delhi: Supreme Court judge Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul has objected for the second time the collegium bypassing the seniors in selection of the Supreme Court judges after consulting him. Twelfth in seniority in the Apex Court, Kaul coming from Delhi High Court, has expressed reservation to the SC collegium's decision last week to elevate Justice Ravindra Bhat, the chief justice of the Rajasthan High Court, who also origins from Delhi High Court.

A day after the collegium picked Bhat among four judges to be elevated to the Supreme Court, Justice Kaul wrote to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi that he has nothing personal against Bhat as he is a "fine mind" and "eminently suitable" for the SC, but "my views on the larger issue remain the same as contained in my letter dated January 11, 2019."

Kaul had written that letter at the time when Justice Sanjiv Khanna, 26th in seniority who also comes from Delhi High Court stream alike Kaul and Bhat.He had then recorded his disagreement at the supersession of the senior judges, especially Justice Pradeep Nandrajog, then Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court who was earlier the Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court.

Not being part of the collegium that recommends appointments of the judges, Kaul has chosen to record his disagreement on supersession of the senior judges. The collegium consults the SC judges from the particular High Court and as such Kaul was consulted also in case of Nandrajog as his origin is also Delhi High Court.

On January 11, he wrote: "As per seniority, it was the turn of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog to be considered for elevation. He is a judge of high integrity who had done enormous judicial and administrative work in both quality and quantity and was thus eminently suitable for appointment."

At that time, he had mentioned the names of Justices Gita Mittal and Ravindra Bhtt along with Justice Nandrajog as seniors who were sidestepped. Mittal, presently Chief Justice of the J&K High Court, also has her origin from Delhi High Court.

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