Plea in Supreme Court for Procedure for Appointment of Chief Justice of India as Ultra Vires of Constitutional Tenets
A plea has been preferred in the Supreme Court challenging the memorandum of procedure regarding appointment of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) as ultra vires of Articles 14 & 124 of the Constitution of India.
A practicing Advocate of Allahabad High Court – Bharat Pratap Singh – the Petitioner-in-person, moved the petition and according to him, independence of Judiciary is a cardinal feature of the Constitution of India, which is at present compromised.
According to the petitioner, the independence of judiciary may be compromised as the Chief Justice of India who is the Constitutional head of the judiciary is appointed on the basis of seniority on recommendation of the outgoing Chief Justice of India.
The plea states, "That the procedure for appointment of Chief Justice of India on the basis of seniority alone is a reiteration of feudal custom and akin to rule of primogeniture which has been held ultra vires/ unconstitutional by this Hon'ble Court in various judgments after promulgation of the Constitution of India."
The plea further states that the letter of recommendation by the outgoing CJI in favour of the next senior most judge is "not equal to the recommendation of collegium of the Supreme Court but is a creation/revival of another kind of kingship which abolished long ago under the Constitution".
He also stated that it is against the spirit of Article 124 of the Indian Constitution and the mandate of the Supreme Court judgement passed in the case of Supreme Court Advocate-on-Record Association and others Vs. Union of India.
The petitioner also contended that even though the CJI is a different class in terms of administrative powers, salary, oath and office there is no provision in the Constitution regarding the procedure of their appointment.
The plea states that the recommendation in favour of the next CJI by the outgoing Chief Justice of India which is very much like a tradition/custom of royalty, lacks constitutional efficacy and sanctity in a Constitutional Democracy like India.
Additionally, the petitioner has stipulated questions of law pertaining to the procedure of appointment such as whether the current procedure is a constitutionally valid one and is a due process of law.