To name his successor, the Union law ministry wrote to Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana on Wednesday. However, the customary letter arrived unusually late, casting a shadow over meetings of the Supreme Court collegium at a time when it must make important decisions regarding vacancies in the high court and the appointment of chief justices.
According to those with knowledge of the situation, CJI Ramana was forced to abandon a plan for a substantive collegium meeting earlier on Wednesday due to an impasse, designating his successor to preside over the collegium’s subsequent meeting. According to the sources, a senior member of the collegium, which is made up of the first five justices on the supreme court, quietly opposed the CJI’s last-ditch effort.
Conventionally, the Union law ministry contacts CJI a little more than a month before the latter retires to request the name of the replacement. After responding, the incumbent sends the suggestion to the minister 30 days prior to his retirement. The Chief Justice of India is typically appointed by the senior-most Supreme Court judge.
According to the individuals cited in the first instance, the collegium meetings were delayed due to a delay by the Union law ministry in writing to CJI Ramana. They also stated that some collegium members did not agree with the delay. On Wednesday, there was a collegium meeting, but it was short-lived.
Following a 75-minute colloquium discussion on Tuesday that ended in a deadlock, there was a meeting on Wednesday. In order to further discuss the resolutions, the CJI then made the futile decision to convene another meeting for Wednesday.
With the departure of Chief Justice Ramana, the Supreme Court will only have 30 judges instead of the sanctioned 34.
On August 26, Justice Ramana will retire, and the following Chief Justice of India will be Justice Uday U Lalit.