..And when Justice AM Ahmadi did injustice to a judge, Justice Katju is remembering

Amalendu Upadhyaya
Posted By -

Former CJI Justice AM Ahmadi passed away recently.

There is a story told about him to me by former CJI JS Verma.

When Justice Ahmadi was CJI, the Supreme Court Collegium for recommending names for appointing Supreme Court judges consisted of the 3 seniormost judges of the Court ( later by the third Judges case it was expanded to the 5 seniormost judges ).

The 3 seniormost judges then were CJI Ahmadi, Justice Kuldip Singh, and Justice JS Verma.

Justices Ahmadi and Kuldip Singh were inimical to each other. Justice Ahmadi wanted Justice Syed Saghir Ahmad, the then CJ of J&K High Court ( he had earlier been Judge of Allahabad High Court ) to be elevated to the Supreme Court, while Justice Kuldip Singh wanted Justice SS Sodhi, then CJ of Allahabad High Court ( he had earlier been a judge of Punjab High Court ) to be elevated.

Justice Sodhi was known to be close to Justice Kuldip Singh, and so CJI Ahmadi was against recommending his name, though he was a very fine judge ( which I personally knew as I was a judge of Allahabad HC when he was the CJ there ).

So what CJI Ahmadi did was that he sent a letter to his 2 Collegium colleagues, Justices Kuldip Singh and Verma, and proposed recommending 4 names for elevation to the Supreme Court, and among those names were the names of Justice Syed Saghir Ahmad and Justice Sodhi.

Justices Kuldip Singh and Verma wrote back approving all 4 names.

Now the ball was in the court of CJI Ahmadi. So he first wrote a letter to a Judge of the SC who had been formerly a judge of the Allahabad HC, seeking his opinion of Justice Sodhi, then CJ of Allahabad HC. This SC judge was known to be hostile to Justice Sodhi, as the latter refused to recommend the name of the former’s son for elevation as a judge of the Allahabad HC, as he regarded him undeserving. So he replied to CJI Ahmadi, who knew of the animosity of the SC judge towards Justice Sodhi, stating that Justice Sodhi was undeserving to be elevated to the SC ( for various reasons ).

Then CJI Ahmadi wrote to the Union Govt that while he recommended 3 of the 4 names, he was not recommending Justice Sodhi’s name because of the objection of that SC judge.

This way Justice Sodhi was denied appointment as a SC judge, though he was fully deserving, and he was made to retire as the CJ of Allahabad HC.

Justice Markandey Katju

Post a Comment


Post a Comment (0)