We tried to set things right: Retired Supreme Court judge Chelameswar on January 12 press conference
Chelameswar, who retired on Friday, said that he strongly believed that the unprecedented judges’ Press conference in a way, was their contribution towards strengthening the judicial system.
NEW DELHI: After serving as a judge for 21 years, Supreme Court judge Justice J Chelameswar retired on Friday, saying that he strongly believed that the unprecedented judges’ Press conference and the questions they raised about the institution were, in a way, their contribution towards strengthening the judicial system.
“We made our attempts to set the things right according to our perception of what is wrong and what is right in that context. Since we concluded that we were not able to set the things right, we decided to inform the nation,” Justice Chelameswar said on why the four most senior judges decided to hold a Press conference, adding that politically sensitive cases were being allocated to selected benches, implying that there were external forces influencing the judiciary.
Amidst speculation over whether Justice Ranjan Gogoi, who is next in line for being appointed as Chief Justice of India, would be superseded on account of his participation in the Press conference, Chelameswar said he did not expect that kind of a situation.
Earlier this week, the Union minister of law and justice made it clear that the government would not interfere in the matter and the recommendation on the next Chief Justice would come from the present one as per the convention.
On the eve of his retirement, Justice Chelameswar had said that he never had personal problems with the three CJIs he worked within the apex court—Justices T S Thakur, J S Khehar and Dipak Misra.
It was during Justice Thakur’s tenure as CJI that Justice Chelameswar had declined to attend collegium meetings, citing their opaqueness and lack of objective process.
Justice Chelameswar’s was the lone dissenting voice in 2015 that ruled in favour of the National Judicial Appointments Commission and disapproved of the functioning of the collegium.
His dissent finally worked and, in October 2017, the collegium headed by CJI Misra passed a resolution to post on the Supreme Court’s website its recommendations on judicial appointments, transfers and elevations.
Justice Chelameswar also backed the collegium’s recommendation to elevate Uttarakhand Chief Justice KM Joseph to the Supreme Court and said, “Don’t know why it’s being held up. Justice Joseph deserves to be elevated.”
On his future plans, Justice Chelameswar said he planned to settle down in his ancestral village in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh.