Breaking his silence on the change in the resolution that stopped the elevation of Chief Justices of Rajasthan and Delhi High Courts who had been recommended for the Supreme Court by its Collegium on December 12, Justice (retired) Madan Lokur, a member of that Collegium, said he is “disappointed” that the resolution was not made public.
When asked if he had requested Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to upload the December 12 decision on the website, Justice Lokur said: “There is no reason to ask (the CJI) to upload the resolution. That is something that this done, once a resolution is taken…there is no standard of procedure on what should be done after a resolution…once a resolution is passed, I expect that the decision to be uploaded. It does disappoint me that the resolution passed on December 12 was not put up on the (SC) website.”
On January 10, the Collegium set aside its December 12, 2018 resolution of elevation of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog, Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court, and Justice Rajendra Menon, Chief Justice of Delhi High Court. Instead, it recommended the appointment to the Supreme Court of Justices Dinesh Maheshwari (Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court) and Sanjeev Khanna (Delhi High Court judge). Both were sworn in last week.
“What happened between December 12 and January 10, I am not privy to it,” Justice Lokur said.
However, he added that he neither attributes any motive behind the change in the decision nor does he seek any explanation from the CJI as to why the decision was not uploaded. “Why it was not put up, that is not my job to ask,” he said.
Justice Lokur retired on December 30 and Justice Arun Mishra was inducted into the collegium.
In its first meeting, the new collegium recommended the elevation of Justices Maheswari and Khanna based on “additional material that became available.” Asked if he was informed about any such additional information before his retirement, Justice Lokur said: “I was not informed about any additional material (that led to the collegium decision of January 10)…what happens in the Collegium is done in confidence. I am not going to betray anybody’s trust by saying whether we discussed this or that. But we take certain decisions…I am telling you that I am disappointed that it was not uploaded.”
Justice Lokur was speaking at an event organised by web portal The Leaflet where he was in conversation with journalist Rajdeep Sardesai.
He said that the Collegium system has not “failed” but needed “tweaking.”
When questioned if the January 12 press conference last year by four senior judges, including Justice Lokur, of the Supreme Court achieved anything, Lokur said, “I think it was worth it. I cannot specify what exactly we achieved. We achieved a little bit of openness in the system.”