New Delhi: As the appointment process of the next Chief Justice of India (CJI) is soon to begin, the centre reportedly sought the recommendation from present CJI Sharad Arvind Bobde, who will retire on April 23, over the same under the Memorandum of Procedure for Appointment of Chief Justice of India. Justice NV Ramana is the next in line to become the CJI.
On Friday, Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is learnt to have written to CJI Bobde, asking him to recommend the name of the next CJI.
As per protocol, the senior most judge after the CJI is entitled to hold this constitutional office. But the procedure requires the law minister to seek the recommendation of the outgoing CJI “at the appropriate time” for appointing the next Chief Justice of India. This recommendation has to come at least a month before the vacancy arises.
Justice NV Ramana, the potential candidate for the post, has a long tenure as CJI for over 16 months.
Before making the recommendation, if the CJI has any doubt about the fitness of the senior most judge to hold the highest judicial office of the country, Article 124(2) of the Constitution allows the CJI to consult other judges of the top court.
“After receipt of the recommendation of the Chief Justice of India, the Union Minister of Law, Justice and Company Affairs will put up the recommendation to the Prime Minister who will advise the President in the matter of appointment,” the Memorandum of Procedure states.
Back in June 2000, Justice Ramana became a permanent judge of the Andhra Pradesh high court and was elevated to the Supreme Court in February 2014.
On October 6 last year, the Andhra Pradesh CM, YS Jaganmohan Reddy, wrote a letter to CJI Bobde alleging justice Ramana was trying to expedite criminal cases pending against him in various courts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
The contentious letter followed days after a bench headed by justice Ramana passed an order in a PIL filed by BJP leader and lawyer Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay to fast-track criminal cases pending against lawmakers.
The CJI is yet to decide on this letter after considering the response of justice Ramana.