New Delhi: The Supreme Court Collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India, D.Y. Chandrachud, on Wednesday said that action should be taken on issuing the notification of advocate John Sathyan as a judge of Madras High Court, while recommending the appointment of four district judges as judges of the same high court.
The collegium stressed that names, which have been recommended earlier in point of time including the reiterated names, ought not to be withheld or overlooked as this disturbs their seniority.
The collegium, also comprising of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph, in a statement uploaded on the court’s website said: “The collegium is of the considered view that necessary action for the issuance of a notification for the elevation of persons who have been recommended earlier in point of time should be taken at the earliest including the name of R John Sathyan which has been reiterated by this collegium on 17 January 2023.”
It added that names which have been recommended earlier in point of time including the reiterated names ought not to be withheld or overlooked as this disturbs their seniority whereas those recommended later steal march on them. “Loss of seniority of candidates recommended earlier in point of time has been noted by the collegium and is a matter of grave concern,” it said.
In January, the Supreme Court had reiterated its recommendation for elevation of Sathyan, after the Central government returned his file citing that he had shared an article critical of the Prime Minister.
The collegium had then said that the adverse comments of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) in respect of posts made by Sathyan i.e., sharing an article published in ‘The Quint’ (in connection with the PM) and another post regarding committing of suicide by a medical aspirant candidate in 2017 will not impinge on the suitability, character, or integrity of Sathyan.
The collegium also recommended the names of four district judges for appointment of judges of the Madras High Court. The judges are: R. Sakthivel, P. Dhanabal, Chinnasamy Kumarappan, and K. Rajasekar.
“The recommendation made by the High Court Collegium on 10 August 2022 for appointment of the four judicial officers as judges of the Madras High Court has the concurrence of the Chief Minister and the Governor of Tamil Nadu. The file was received from the Department of Justice on 05 January 2023,” said the collegium.
It further added that in order to ascertain the fitness and suitability of the above-named judicial officers for elevation to the high court, in terms of the memorandum of procedure, this collegium has consulted the judges of the Supreme Court conversant with the affairs of the Madras High Court.
The collegium said it had on January 17 recommended the appointment of advocate Ramaswamy Neelakandan as a judge and reiterated the appointment of John Sathyan, as a judge to Madras High Court, which are yet to be cleared by the government.
“As on 31.01.2023, Ramaswamy Neelakandan was 48.07 years of age while K Rajasekar on that date was 47.09 years of age. Neelakandan who is a member of the Bar has been recommended earlier in point of time must be appointed before Rajasekar is appointed. Otherwise, Rajasekar, who is a judicial officer and younger than Neelakandan, would rank senior to Neelakandan. Such a deviation in seniority would be unfair and against the settled convention,” said the collegium.