NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court collegium’s decision to elevate Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dinesh Maheshwari to the apex court turned into a major controversy on Tuesday with former Delhi High Court Judge Kailash Gambhir writing to President Ram Nath Kovind calling the move “a historical blunder” that has sent “shockwaves” across the legal and judicial fraternity.
Khanna is, at present, a judge in the Delhi High Court while Maheshwari is the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court. Justice Maheshwari stands at serial number 21 in the seniority of HC judges on an all-India basis.
“This is appalling and outrageous that such an earth-shattering decision has been taken to supersede as many as 32 judges casting aspersions on the intellect, merit and integrity” of the judges who have been superseded, Justice Gambhir wrote in a two-page letter.
“It cannot be forgotten, that just one and half month back, the then collegium members of the Supreme Court had superseded Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, and now, out of the blue, he becomes more deserving ...” the letter reads.
Justice Khanna stands at serial number 33 on the same list. If elevated, he would become the CJI after Justice DY Chandrachud in 2024.
The collegium, comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices AK Sikri, SA Bobde, NV Ramana and Arun Mishra, decided to elevate the two at a meeting on January 10.
Till the January 10 decision Maheshwari and Khanna were not under consideration. Instead, Delhi HC Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Rajasthan HC Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog were being considered.