Justice Chandrachud took oath as the 50th CJI on November 9. Elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court on May 13, 2016, he would have a tenure of two years as the CJI and retire on November 10, 2024.
The event was attended by several dignitaries, including the judges of the Supreme Court and Attorney General of India R Venkatramani.
The SCBA president highlighted that several high courts of the country have no representation in the Supreme Court and CJI Chandrachud has a “tremendous opportunity” to fill the apex court vacancies while keeping in mind the criteria of merit, regional representation and seniority.
“(For elevation to the Supreme Court) Merit is the number one, most important (factor). Second, regional representation and third is seniority. There are several high courts today that are unrepresented,” Singh said.
“The CJI has a tremendous opportunity to not only fill up the six vacancies that are already there but also fill up other 15-16 vacancies during his tenure to ensure that these issues are always taken into consideration and that elevation is done in a time bound manner from date of recommendation,” he added.
Singh said that the proposal to elevate Bombay High Court Chief Justice Dipankar Dutta to the Supreme Court was first made six weeks ago and should not be “sent back”.
“Like Justice Dipankar Dutta’s elevation was recommended more than six weeks back and it should not happen that now collegium has changed.. it is sent back. That name should go as it is and new names should be added as a separate list,” he said.
Attorney General Venkatramani, in his address, said that one cannot be blind to the changes in socio-political structures across the world and “inquiry and reform” were close to CJI Chandrachud.
He stated that he was looking forward to weaving roadmaps in the administration of justice as a bridge between the State and the court.
The SCBA president emphasised that “out-of-the-box” thinking was required for the elevation of deserving Supreme Court lawyers as judges as the collegium in the high court has no direct access to the nature of the practice of these lawyers.
”But I am sure there are clearly discernible ways to assess their work,” the senior Bar leader said, adding that lawyers who are not asked to be elevated at the right time, do not show interest later.
Singh said that he was sure that with a long two-year tenure, CJI Chandachud would do the very best to uphold the Constitution of India.
“The President has to defend the laws; the Executive has to implement the laws; the Chief Justice of India or judges have to uphold the laws and the Constitution. The distinction in the Constitution on functions of various organs of the state are quite clear and stark,” he said.
“We wish you a very fruitful and decisive tenure,” Singh said as he hoped that CJI Chandrachud would take the Supreme Court and the entire judiciary of the country to greater heights and ensure affordable and timely justice to people.
He shared that CJI Chandrachud was earlier involved in social causes and academics and believes in hard work and discipline.
While sharing the concerns of the Bar, Singh said that the process of designation of senior advocates has to be given priority and more space needs to be allotted to the SCBA to accommodate more lawyers and meet infrastructural demands.
He also hoped that the listing of cases would be further streamlined and the allotment of certain chambers to the Bar Council of India ”in contravention” of the rules would be cancelled.
He also demanded the introduction of welfare stamps exclusively for the benefit of Supreme Court lawyers in need to help.
SCBI vice president Pradeep Rai, in his speech, highlighted the issues concerning pendency and trial courts and said, “Our trial courts are almost collapsing. There is a lack of facilities.”
He also said that if there is some conflict between the judges, “it should not come out in the open” and assured the CJI that the Bar was “100 per cent with you”. PTI ADS RT RT