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Report No. 80

V. Appointment of Chief Justice

6.18. Chief Justice of High Court-Seniormost Judge normally to be appointed.-

We may now deal with the question of the appointment of the Chief Justice of the High Court. It has already been mentioned1 that recommendation for this purpose emanates from the Chief Minister. Normally, we think that the seniormost judge of the High Court should be appointed as the Chief Justice of the High Court. It would not be desirable, in our opinion, to recommend or appoint a junior judge of the High Court as Chief Justice in the presence of a senior judge. In case we countenance the recommendation for appointing a junior judge to the office of Chief Justice, it would lead to the undesirable practice of junior judges cultivating and developing some kind of personal relationship with the Chief Ministers.

It would also have the effect of undermining the independence of the judiciary. In any case, the image of the court would be considerably affected if some of the judges of the court start hobnobbing with the Chief Minister. We feel that the role of the Chief Minister should be continued only to taking the initiative in the matter of the appointment of the Chief Justice and expressing views about the suitability of the seniormost judge for the office of the Chief Justice.

1. See Chapter 5, supra.



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