On February 12, the Supreme Court Collegium issued a statement saying it had “approved the proposal for appointment of Shri Justice Rahul Chaturvedi, Additional Judge of Allahabad High Court as Permanent Judge of that High Court”. It was silent on another Additional Judge of Allahabad High Court, Justice Irshad Ali, though it had recommended his elevation too in September last year.
Unlike Justice Chaturvedi, Justice Ali’s term will now run out on March 21. He was one of three judges — along with Justice Chaturvedi and Justice Neeraj Tiwari — appointed as Additional Judge of Allahabad High Court on the same day — September 22, 2017.
On September 5, 2019, the Collegium, comprising then Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde and N V Ramana, recommended that Justices Tiwari and Ali “be appointed as Permanent Judges of the Allahabad High Court against the existing vacancies; and Mr Justice Rahul Chaturvedi be appointed as an Additional Judge for a fresh term of six months w.e.f. 22nd September, 2019”.
Subsequently, the Ministry of Law and Justice, in a notification on September 20, confirmed the elevation of Justice Tiwari following the Collegium recommendation. On the same day, it issued another notification saying Justices Chaturvedi and Ali will continue as Additional Judge for a period of another six months from September 22 — in effect, not accepting the Collegium proposal to elevate Justice Ali.
The Collegium under then CJI Gogoi, in its September 5 statement, had provided an explanation on its decision to recommend the elevation of Justices Tiwari and Ali as Permanent Judge while deferring that of Justice Chaturvedi.
This is what it said: “This relates to the proposal for appointment of Mr Justices (1) Rahul Chaturvedi, (2) Irshad Ali, and (3) Neeraj Tiwari, Additional Judges of the Allahabad High Court, as Permanent Judges of that High Court. The recommendation made by the Collegium of the Allahabad High Court on 18th February, 2019, for appointment of 19 Additional Judges as Permanent Judges including the above-named three Additional Judges was considered by the Supreme Court Collegium on 30th July, 2019, when it decided to defer consideration of the proposal in respect of above-named three recommendees.”
“In order to ascertain suitability of the above-named recommendees for being appointed as Permanent Judges, we have consulted our colleagues who are conversant with the affairs of the Allahabad High Court. We have duly taken note of the opinion expressed by each of them… With a view to assess merit and suitability of the above-named three Additional Judges for appointment as Permanent Judges, we have carefully scrutinized the material placed on record including certain complaints received against one of the above-named recommendees.”
“On overall assessment based inter alia on the additional information received from the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, the observations made by the Department of Justice in the file and having regard to all relevant factors, the Collegium is of the view that Mr Justices (1) Irshad Ali, and (2) Neeraj Tiwari, Additional Judges, are suitable for being appointed as Permanent Judges.”
“As regards Mr. Justice Rahul Chaturvedi, having taken into consideration all relevant factors, the Collegium is of the view that his present term as Additional Judge be extended for a further period of six months. In view of the above, the Collegium resolves to recommend that: (A) Mr Justices (1) Irshad Ali, and (2) Neeraj Tiwari, Additional Judges be appointed as Permanent Judges of the Allahabad High Court against the existing vacancies; and (B) Mr Justice Rahul Chaturvedi, be appointed as an Additional Judge for a fresh term of six months w.e.f. 22nd September, 2019,” the Collegium said.
There is still no word on the recommendation for elevation of Justice Ali.
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