9 Dec :The Supreme Court Collegium has finally had its way with President Pratibha Patil clearing the names of three High Court chief justices recommended by it for elevation to the apex court despite reservations voiced by the Prime Minister’s Office.
The President has given the nod for appointment of H L Datuu, A K Ganguly and R M Lodha-Chief Justices of Kerala, Madras and Patna High Courts as judges of the Supreme Court.Their elevation was mired in controversy as the Centre had asked the Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan to reconsider the decision, taking into account the seniority of three other Chief Justices of High Courts.
The Centre had pointed out that the collegium overlooked the case of their seniors, Delhi HC Chief Justice A P Shah, Madhya Pradesh HC Chief Justice A K Patnaik and Uttarakhand HC Chief Justice V K Gupta, for appointment to the apex court.
However, the Collegium, comprising five seniormost judges of the apex court, refused to reconsider the decision and persisted with the names already recommended by them.The CJI had contended that seniority was only one among several criteria for promoting judges to the top court and stressed the importance of merit.
The file was sent back to the Chief Justice last month after the PMO sought clarification asking for the basis on which the proposed list of judges for elevation was prepared.