SC Collegium Sends Two Names Back to Govt, May Have its First Dalit Judge in a Decade
Bombay, Punjab and Haryana, Jharkhand, Gauhati High Courts represented
NEW DELHI: Today the Supreme Court Collegium recommended Justices BR Gavai and Surya Kant for elevation to the Supreme Court, while reiterating its earlier recommendation of Justices Aniruddha Bose and AS Bopanna.
The government had objected to the elevation of Justices Bopanna and Bose. In a special reference order the Collegium rejected government objections to the judges’ elevation, saying there was nothing adverse in their integrity or conduct.
The special reference order says “The Collegium is of the view that though inter-se seniority amongst Judges in their High Courts and their combined seniority on all-India basis should be given due weightage, merit should be the predominant consideration. The Collegium accordingly kept in mind these parameters while recommending the above two names.”
Pending government approval, with these recommendations the Supreme Court will reach its sanctioned strength of 31 judges, and in Justice Gavai it will have its first Dalit judge in a decade.
Justice BR Gavai
Born on November 24, 1960 in Amravati, Justice Gavai joined the Bar on March 16, 1985. He worked with the late Raja S.Bhonsale, former Advocate General and Judge of High Court, till 1987. He continued to practise independently at the Bombay High Court from 1987 to 1990. After 1990 he practised mainly before the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court.
As a lawyer Gavai specialised in constitutional and administrative law. He has been a Standing Counsel for the Municipal Corporation of Nagpur, Amravati Municipal Corporation and Amravati University.
He appeared regularly for various autonomous bodies such as the Society of Integrated Coastal Management and corporations like the Development Corporation of Vidarbha Ltd, and various municipal councils in the Vidarbha region.
He was appointed as Assistant Government Pleader and Additional Public Prosecutor in the High Court of Judicature at Bombay, Nagpur Bench, from August 1992 to July 1993. He was then appointed as Government Pleader and Public Prosecutor for Nagpur Bench on January 17, 2000.
Justice Gavai was elevated as Additional Judge of the Bombay High Court on November 14, 2003 and has been functioning there since then. He is the eighth most senior High Court judge in India.
The Collegium while recommending his name said it duly considered Justice Gavai’s seniority among judges hailing from the Bombay High Court. It said his proposed elevation “in no way, is to be misconstrued to mean that three senior-most Judges from Bombay High Court [two of whom are serving as Chief Justices] are less suitable than Justice Gavai.”
With Justice Gavai’s elevation, the Supreme Court will have a judge from among the Scheduled Castes after about a decade, the Collegium declared.
“The Collegium has also kept in mind the desirability of giving due representation on the Bench of the Supreme Court, as far as possible, to all the High Court’s as well as to all sections of the society including those belonging to SC/ST/OBC categories, women and minorities,” it said.
Justice Surya Kant
Born on February 10, 1962 in Petwar, Hisar, Haryana, Justice Surya Kant studied law at the Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak in 1984 and started practising in the district courts of Hisar in July 1984. In 1985 he shifted his practice to Punjab and Haryana High Court.
As a lawyer Kant practised constitutional and civil law.
He was appointed as an Advocate General of Haryana on July 7, 2000 and was designated a Senior Advocate by the Punjab & Haryana High Court. He held the office of Advocate General till his elevation as a judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court on January 9, 2004.
He has been a member of the National Legal Services Authority for two consecutive terms (2007-2011).
He was appointed as a Judge of the Punjab & Haryana High Court on January 9, 2004 and was elevated as Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court on October 5, 2018.
At present Justice Surya Kant is the eleventh most senior High Court judge in India. Among judges from Punjab and Haryana he is the second most senior and is already functioning as Chief Justice since October 5, 2018.
Justice Aniruddha Bose
Justice Aniruddha Bose, born on April 11, 1959, passed his Higher Secondary Examination from St. Lawrence High School, Calcutta, in 1976. He did his B.Com from St. Xavier's College, Calcutta and LL.B. from Surendranath College of Law, Calcutta.
He was enrolled with the Bar Council of West Bengal as an Advocate in October 1985.
He practised law in the Original Side as well as the Appellate Side of the High Court at Calcutta in constitutional and civil matters, with special emphasis on intellectual property law.
He was elevated to the Bench as permanent Judge of the High Court at Calcutta on January 19, 2004. He was then recommended for elevation as Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court. His name was, however, returned by the central government, with the observation that he lacked the experience to handle the affairs of a prominent High Court like Delhi.
The Collegium thereafter reconsidered its proposal, and had recommended that he be appointed as the Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court instead. In August 2018 the Centre appointed Justice Bose as the Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court.
Justice AS Bopanna
Born on May 20, 1959 Justice Bopanna enrolled as an advocate on November 21, 1984 in Karnataka Bar Council. He practised civil, constitutional, company, service and labour matters in the Karnataka High Court as well as in the Civil and Labour Courts.
He worked as Legal Advisor to all Central Public Sector Undertakings and worked as an Additional Central Government Standing Counsel from 1999 to 2005.
He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the High Court of Karnataka on January 6, 2006 and permanent judge on March 1, 2007.
On October 24, 2018 Justice Bopanna was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court.
The incumbent government recently returned the recommendations forwarded by the Supreme Court on the elevation of Justices Bose and Bopanna. The Collegium has now reiterated its proposal to elevate them to the apex court.