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Report No. 80

Question No. 10

(a) One High Court agrees with the view put forth in the Question, but adds that the Chief Justice or Judge of another High Court, who is appointed as Chief Justice, should be senior to the seniormost Judge of the Court (in the all-India cadre of High Court Judges).

Six High Courts are opposed to the suggestion put in Question 10. It has been stated by some of them that before the appointment of a High Court Judge, his suitability is judged at various stages, and it is difficult to think that the seniormost Judge is not suitable as Chief Justice. One of these High Courts adds that if the seniormost Judge is considered unfit, an outsider should not be appointed, but the next seniormost Judge should be appointed.

(b) As regards individual Judges who have sent replies, in one High Court four Judges are opposed to the suggestion, while the Chief Justice and two Judges are agreeable. In another High Court, some judges agree.

(c) A very eminent jurist agrees with the suggestion, but adds that there should be no inflexible rule and even an outstanding member of the bar should be considered.

(d) One State Government agrees that if the seniormost Judge is not suitable, the Judge of another High Court be brought as Chief Justice, but in that case the seniormost Judge of the High Court should be considered for Chief Justiceship in another High Court.

One State Government accepts the suggestion only to a very limited extent. The Chief Justice should be from the State where the High Court is situated. If, under any extraordinary circumstances, any outside judge is appointed as Chief Justice, such Judge should be a person proficient in the language of the State.

Two State Governments are opposed to the suggestion to appoint a Judge from another High Court. One of them has stated that the bringing of judges from other High Courts is merely a mellowing factor, adding that the next seniormost Judge be appointed as Chief Justice.

One Law Secretary agrees with the suggestion in the Question, but the outside judge should be brought only on the choice of the Chief Justice of India, who should consult his two seniormost colleagues.



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