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SC turns down plea against elevation of Justice JS Khehar as CJI

The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the plea filed by a lawyers’ body seeking not to make Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar as the next Chief Justice of India.

A bench of the Apex Court headed by Justice Ashok Bhushan and also comprising Justice L Nageswar Rao, while dismissing the plea, said that the plea was ‘infructuous’ after the notification was issued by President Pranab Mukherjee on December 19th.

Several lawyers representing the body addressed the court.

“There is nothing left in this petition as the President of India has already issued the notification appointing Justice Khehar as the next CJI,” a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and L Nageswara Rao said.

Besides the National Lawyers Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms, which moved the court through its General Secretary Rohini M. Amin, the petition was backed by several lawyers associated with it.

Seeking direction to the Centre to consider various representations made to the President, the prime minister, the chief justice and the union law minister, the petition favoured the appointment of Justice Chelameswar as the next chief justice who would have a tenure of almost two years.

Besides this, the National Lawyers Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms contended that Justice Chelameswar was senior to Justice Khehar as he became a judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court on June 23, 1997 while Justice Khehar became a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court only on February 8, 1999.

The petitioner alleged that Justice Khehar should not be appointed as CJI as he had virtually paved the way for himself to be elevated as CJI by quashing the NJAC Act and reviving collegium system of appointment of judges.

But Justice Khehar became senior as he was elevated to the top court before Justice Chelameswar, said the petition.

However, the petition said Justice Khehar was “undoubtedly one of the most upright judges of the Supreme Court” and “nobody could … point a finger at Justice Khehar when it comes to honesty, integrity and uprightness”.

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