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Filled to the nines: On Supreme Court’s appointment spree

Appointment spree in SC is welcome, and augurs well for diversity and representation

A notable candidate whose name does not figure in the list is Justice Akil Kureshi, Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court, who is fairly high in the all-India seniority list of High Court judges. That the finalisation of the recommendations came about after the retirement of Justice Rohinton Nariman — and a change in the composition of the Collegium with it — may indicate that the names were the outcome of a compromise. It is not idle speculation to say that Justice Kureshi’s candidature may have been behind stagnation in the appointment process for a long time. Two years ago, a proposal by the Collegium to name Justice Kureshi as Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court was recalled for accommodating the Centre’s sensitivities. He was later assigned to the Tripura High Court. In the larger scheme of things, the omission of individuals may not matter much, but it must not become a practice to sidestep suitable candidates without sufficient cause solely to accommodate the executive’s reservations. After all, the opaque collegium system is sustained only by the belief that it is a bulwark against executive intervention. This raison d’être should not be lost sight of. Going forward, one would wish for fewer spells of impasse in judicial appointments, quicker processing of names, and greater consideration to social and regional representation.

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