The Supreme Court on Tuesday once again dismissed a plea challenging the appointment of Justice J S Khehar as the next Chief Justice of India, saying “it is in the public interest that the curtain should be brought down”.
Justice Khehar will assume the office of the CJI tomorrow as the tenure of incumbent Justice T S Thakur ends today. On 19 December, President Pranab Mukherjee had cleared the name of Justice Khehar.
“Two petitions have been filed on the same grounds and had been dismissed. It is the time when we put the issue at rest.
It is in the public interest that the curtain should be brought down,” a bench comprising Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud said.
The bench dismissed the present plea filed by one Tejsing Ashok Rao Gaikwad on the ground that similar pleas have been earlier heard by the apex court and dismissed.
“We are not inclined to entertain the plea and hence it is dismissed,” the bench said.
Advocate Mathews J Nedumpara, appearing for the petitioner, said that Justice Khehar should be disqualified from being appointed as the next CJI as he “while heading a five-judge Constitution bench had struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) which had benefited him as the judgement had revived the collegium system for appointment of judges in the higher judiciary.”
Nedumpara had in the morning mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice T S Thakur for urgent hearing which directed the matter to be listed today.
Justice Chandrachud said that the averments and arguments were heard in detail in the petitions filed earlier and there was no point in going again into the same thing.
On 30 December, the apex court had dismissed the plea filed by a group of lawyers challenging the elevation of Justice Khehar as next CJI, saying there was “no question” of him being considered ineligible for the post.
The top court had on 23 December termed as “virtually infructuous” a petition filed by the lawyers’ body opposing elevation of Justice Khehar observing that the President has already issued a notification in this regard.