Breaking: Supreme Court Dismisses Pleas Challenging Appointment Of Advocate Victoria Gowri As Additional Judge Of Madras High Court
The Supreme Court has dismissed two pleas challenging the appointment of Advocate Victoria Gowri as a Judge of the Madras High Court in a hearing that started at around 10.25 am today.
The Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice BR Gavai said that "we are not entertaining the writ petitions. Reasons will follow".
The Bench told the Counsel at the beginning that only eligibility can be considered at this stage and asked the Counsel to come to the "meat of the matter".
The Bench said that there have been cases where people with political backgrounds have taken oath and that these matters would have been placed before the collegium. The Bench also referred to consultation with the consultee judge of the High Court. It said that it cant be presumed that the background of the candidate was not known to the Collegium.
"I also have a political background. I have been a judge for 20 years. My political views have not influenced me", Justice Gavai said.
Senior Advocate Raju Ramachandran mentioned the names of some judges with political backgrounds. He said that it is not her political background but the hate speech that has rendered her unfit.
"If there was anything in it, the Collegium would have reconsidered it", Justice Sanjiv Khanna said.
Justice Gavai said that the candidate is being sworn in as an additional judge and that there are cases where additional judges were not confirmed if they are not true to their oath.
You want the court on the judicial side to ask the Collegium to reconsider, we can't do that, said Justice Khanna.
Senior Advocate Raju Ramachandran said that it was informed in open court that the collegium is reconsidering. He said that the tweet of the Law Minister was after the mentioning before the Chief Justice's court.
He said that the Acting Chief Justice notified the swearing-in at 10.35 am though the matter was to be heard at 10.30 am. He said that there was an ugly hurry in the matter.
Justice Khanna said that it is more a case of suitability and not eligibility.
Senior Advocate Anand Grover argued that it is possible that this information was not placed before the Collegium. The Bench responded by saying that we cannot proceed on the basis of presumption.
Justice Khanna said in most cases of recommendation, many complaints are received.
Justice Khanna said that the consultative process has taken place."You are saying that this particular information may not have been made available. The presumption is that all information is made available", he said.
Justice Gavai said that the proposal originated from the High Court and the Judges would have been aware of the antecedents of the candidates.
Senior Advocate Raju Ramachandran contended that the presumption that the Collegium is dislodged due to the statement made by Chief Justice Chandrachud.
Senior Advocate Manan Kumar Mishra, the Bar Council Chairman told the Court that there is no complaint of professional misconduct against the candidate.
At the beginning, Raju Ramachandran told the bench that he wants to seek a stay. He told the Bench that the Chief Justice informed the lawyers that the Collegium is considering what transpired subsequently.
"A person who is not in sink with the basic ideals of the constitution is not fit to take oath as a judge. The Constitution requires true faith and allegiance to the constitution", he said This person has rendered herself incapable of taking that oath by her own public utterances, he said.
He told the Court that we can't presume that these matters were placed before the Collegium.
Initially, the Counsel in the matter were waiting in the Court of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud from 9.15 am since it was said that the matter will be heard by a bench headed by the Chief Justice at 9.15 am. The Counsel were later informed that the Bench of Justice Khanna will hear the matter.
The lawyers then shifted to Court 7 at around 9.45 am. However, then it was learned that the Bench was changed only because Justice MM Sunderesh recused from hearing the case since he was a consultee judge for appointments from Madras High Court as his parent High Court is the Madras High Court.
The only change that happened was that since a special bench had to be constituted with Justice Gavai, the cases were re-listed as item Nos. 301 and 301.1, to be considered at 10.30 am. The modified supplementary list had been published at 9.23 am.
The two petitions challenging the recommendation to appoint Advocate Victoria Gowri are listed before the Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice MM Sunderesh tomorrow at item Nos. 38 and 38.1 in the supplementary list for admission.
While the first petition is filed by Anna Mathew and others, the second one is filed by R. Vaigai and another. The supplementary list was published by the Supreme Court at 8.39 pm.
Advocate Lekshmana Chandra Victoria Gowri was to be sworn in today at 10.35 am as an additional judge of the Madras High Court by the Acting Chief Justice of the Madras High Court Justice T. Raja as per a circular issued by the Registrar General of the Madras High Court.
Along with Victoria Gowri, four others were to be sworn in as per the circular. They are, Advocate Pillaipakkam Bahukutumbi Balaji, Advocate Kandhasami Kulandaivelu Ramakrishnan, Judicial Officer Ramachandran Kalaimathi and Judicial Officer K. Govindarajan Thilakavadi, whose names were notified by the Centre on Monday.
As per reports, a group of lawyers had written to Acting Chief Justice T. Raja urging him not to administer the oath until the cases against Advocate Victoria Gowri are heard by the Apex Court.