'Appeal Disguised As Review Petition': Delhi HC Dismisses Plea Challenging Appointment Of CJI DY Chandrachud
The Delhi High Court on Monday dismissed a plea to review its order rejecting a challenge to the appointment of Justice D Y Chandrachud as the Chief Justice of India (CJI), saying it was filed in the guise of seeking re-hearing of the petition which is not permissible.
A bench of Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva and Justice Vikas Mahajan said no ground was made to review the November 11, 2022 order passed by another bench of the high court which had also imposed Rs. One lakh costs on the petitioner.
"It is an appeal disguised as a review petition. The petitioner has not been able to point out any error apparent on the face of the record. No ground is made out to review the November 11, 2022 order. The review petition is accordingly dismissed," the bench said.
The bench further said it appeared that the review petition has been filed in guise of seeking a re-hearing of the petition which is not permissible in review.
The high court had last year dismissed with costs the public interest litigation by Sanjeev Kumar Tiwari against the appointment of Justice Chandrachud as the CJI.
While dismissing the PIL, the earlier bench had said the offices held by the constitutional functionaries in public trust are not open to denigration by self-styled warriors of public interest on the basis of superficial allegations.
The petitioner, in his review plea, has sought to set aside the earlier order as well as to waive off the costs.
While arguing the review petition, the petitioner alleged that he was not allowed to even read his plea by the previous bench and that his friends were not permitted to enter the court premises to hear his case.
To this, Justice Sachdeva said when they sit for hearing a matter, they have already gone through the files and since the petitioner had to argue the case, his friends were not required here.
The high court said review was not made out and if the petitioner desires, he can file an appeal before an appropriate court.
"Whatever you are arguing does not fall under the domain of a review petition. You will get to know from the Constitution where you need to go for an appropriate remedy. Our job is not to give advice and it is to deliver decisions. You file an appeal as review is not made out," it said.
The petitioner said while he was arguing in Hindi, the judges in the earlier bench were responding in English and he was not given the order copy in Hindi and the same was "unconstitutional".
To this, Justice Sachdeva said, "There is a reason why the order is given in English and not Hindi. Even that is written in the Constitution. You say you are conversant with the Constitution, you will find the reason in it."
As the petitioner was arguing his case in Hindi, the bench was also responding him in the same language and said, "How many languages are there in India and how will you talk to people who do not speak in Hindi?"
Tiwari said they should communicate in Hindi or Sanskirt as all Indian languages come from Sanskrit but they should not use English.
"Are you going to teach all of them Sanskrit?" the bench asked.
On January 13, a bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad, which had passed the November order, recused from hearing the review petition noting that certain allegations have also been levelled against them.
In the review, the man has alleged, "The petitioner fails to understand the provisions of law which debars the petitioner from approaching the high court with a request to ensure compliance of various provisions of the Constitution for appointment of Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India or use of Hindi language in courts".
"Imposing penalty for such a petition is the most unjust and unconstitutional action of the chief justice and his companion judge. Hence the review petition is filed," he alleged.
The court had earlier observed that Article 124 (Establishment and constitution of Supreme Court) of the Constitution has followed in the matter of the appointment of the CJI and "it has now become fashion to approach the court by making scandalous allegations against judges".
Justice Chandrachud took oath as the 50th CJI on November 9, 2022.
The petitioner, who claimed to be the national president of an organisation named Gram Uday Foundation, had alleged that the appointment of the CJI was against the provisions of the Constitution.
The high court had said the petition was filed to gain publicity and that it went against the genesis of a social interest litigation and was nothing but an abuse of process of law.
"The petitioner in the instant writ petition has made scandalous allegations against the former Chief Justices of India without there being any material in support of the same filed along with the writ petition. It is unfortunate that allegations have been made against other high dignitaries, including the Union Law Minister. The instant petition appears to be more of a publicity oriented litigation instead of a public interest litigation," the court had further noted.
It had observed that the PIL was developed as a powerful tool to espouse the case of the marginalised and oppressed sections of society but it is increasingly being abused by "publicity mongers" for "cheap popularity" and many times pleas are to "blackmail people".
With PTI Inputs