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Justices Maheshwari & Khanna elevated to SC

Justices Maheshwari & Khanna elevated to SC
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New Delhi: Ignoring the huge row over his elevation that has led to supersession of several judges, the Government Wednesday appointed Delhi High Court judge Sanjiv Khanna to the Supreme Court as recommended by the apex court's collegium.

A government notification said President Ram Nath Kovind also appointed Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari as a judge of the apex court. With the two appointments, the strength of the top court will rise to 28 with three vacancies.

The five-member SC Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on January 11 recommended to the government the elevation of Justices Maheshwari and Khanna to the top court.

The appointment of Justice Khanna was announced on a day when the chorus of protests against the collegium's recommendation to elevate him grew louder with Bar Council of India (BCI) saying it is "whimsical and arbitrary" and will lead to "humiliation and demoralisation" of the superseded judges.

A sitting supreme court judge Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul has already written a note to Justice Gogoi and fellow judges in the collegium - Justices A K Sikri, S A Bobde, N V Ramana and Arun Mishra - for ignoring the seniority of Chief Justices of the High Courts of Rajasthan and Delhi, Pradeep Nandrajog and Rajendra Menon, respectively.

Sources said Justice Kaul was of the view that a wrong signal would go out if the two Chief Justices, who are up in the seniority list than Justice Khanna, would be left out for elevation as apex court judges.

Justice Khanna stands at Sl.No. 33 in the combined seniority of high court judges on an all-India basis.

Former CJI R M Lodha said the unprecedented January 12, 2018 press conference by four senior-most judges including Gogoi before he became the CJI has not served the purpose for which it was held and instead the concerns raised including the functioning of Collegium for the appointment of judges for higher judiciary have aggravated.

"Looking at the overall reaction and perception, it would be better if the matter(of Khanna) is recalled and considered threadbare, but this seems to be unlikely to me," he said.

Justice Kailash Gambhir, a former Delhi High Court judge, also wrote a letter to President Kovind on January 14 expressing concern over the collegium bypassing the seniority of several judges.

The BCI, which is an apex body of lawyers, said the Bar and the common man viewed the decision of the collegium as "unjust and improper".

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