With just over a month left in his 14-month tenure as Chief Justice of India, the Justice S A Bobde-led collegium is yet to make its first recommendation of a judge to be appointed to the Supreme Court since he took office in November 2019.
The last time a CJI retired without a single appointment to the SC was in 2015 during the tenure of CJI H L Dattu when there was an unprecedented stand-off between the judiciary and the government over the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC).
This time, though, the impasse is within.
Sources told The Indian Express that one reason is the lack of consensus in the collegium – comprising CJI Bobde and Justices NV Ramana, Rohinton Nariman, U U Lalit and AM Khanwilkar – on recommending Justice Akil Kureshi, Chief Justice of Tripura High Court, to the apex court.
The apex court is short of four judges while two retirements — of CJI Bobde and Justice Indu Malhotra — are due in the next two months. Additionally, Justices Ashok Bhushan, Rohinton Nariman and Navin Sinha will retire this year.
Justice Kureshi is, currently, No. 3 in the all-India seniority list after Gujarat HC Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Delhi HC Chief Justice DN Patel.
Justice Kureshi’s appointment as CJ of Tripura was also a point of contention for the then SC collegium headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi.