The Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SA Bobde held its scheduled meeting to discuss possible candidates for the appointment of judges in higher judiciary, but it remained inconclusive.
The brief collegium meeting was attended by all the five senior-most judges including Justice NV Ramana who has been appointed as the next CJI by President Ram Nath Kovind on April 6, they said.
No decision could be taken, they said and rubbished certain news reports of purported differences among some collegium members. As per the apex court’s website, Justice Ramana did not hold the court on Thursday.
The top court has a sanctioned strength of 34 judges and after the retirement of Justice Indu Malhotra recently, the vacancies have gone up to five.
The matter of elevation of Chief Justice Tripura High Court Akil Kureshi and also Karnataka senior woman judge Justice BV Nagarathna to the Supreme Court have been discussed in meeting in past as well, sources said.
CJI Bobde would superannuate on April 23 and Thursday”s pre-scheduled meeting assumes significance in the wake of the fact that justice Ramana has been formally appointed as the next CJI.
As per the convention, since the President has issued warrants of appointment for the next CJI, the outgoing predecessor does not make any recommendations to the Centre for appointment of judges in high courts and the apex court.
The collegium meeting was scheduled before the issuance of the notification appointing Justice Ramana as the CJI.
The last collegium meeting had taken place in the third week of March, the sources said.
Besides the CJI, the four others members of the collegium are justices NV Ramana, RF Nariman, UU Lalit and AM Khanwilkar.
The collegium led by Justice Bobde, who took oath as the CJI on November 18, 2019, has not made any recommendation for the appointment of a judge to the apex court so far.
Earlier during the day, a lawyers” body, All India Bar Association (AIBA) through the chairman and senior advocate Adish C Aggarwala urged the CJI not to hold the collegium meeting on Thursday saying it would be against “judicial propriety and convention” as the President has already notified the appointment of Justice Ramana.