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Law Comm's AP Shah weighs in on collegium debate: Fixed CJI tenure, JAC to have more judges & post-bench cooling off

The Law Commission chairman Justice AP Shah has recommended that the tenure of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) should be fixed to at least two years, and that the Judicial Appointments Commission (JAC) should consist of at least four judges, including the CJI as chairperson, reported The Hindu and the Indian Express.

The minimum CJI tenure should take effect after the current roster of sitting Supreme Court judges in line for the CJI post will have retired by August 2022, with Justice NV Ramana as the last CJI under the old system, recommended Shah in a note he sent to the law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Furthermore, he recommended that judges should have a three year “cooling off period” after retirement before they take up any government jobs. The JAC, apart from the four sitting Supreme Court judges, should also include the law minister, with an eminent jurist and an eminent member of civil society picked by the CJI, the prime minister and the leader of the Lok Sabha opposition.

Shah’s proposal was reportedly discussed in Monday’s meeting between the law ministry and top lawyers and retired judges.

Gov't consults on future of collegium system today with top advocates, CJIs & scholars

The central government and its law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad are set to meet in Delhi with a number of advocates today, to discuss the shape of a constitutional amendment on judicial appointments, reported the Times of India.

The panel to give feedback on a possible change to the collegium system includes “former CJIs AM Ahmadi, AS Anand, VN Khare and RC Lahoti; former AGs K Parasaran, Soli Sorabjee and Ashok Desai; eminent lawyers Fali Nariman, Shanti Bhushan, Anil Divan, KK Venugopal and Harish Salve; eminent jurists NR Madhava Menon and Upendra Baxi [and] attorney general Mukul Rohatgi and solicitor general Ranjit Kumar,” according to the TOI.

The previous government's draft Judicial Appointments Commission Bill proposed a panel of the CJI and two Supreme Court judges, the law minister as well as two eminent citizens, who will be nominated by the prime minister, the CJI and the Lok Sabha's Leader of the Opposition - a position currently unfilled.

Gown not mandatory for advocates in district & lower courts: BCI

The Bar Council of India (BCI) has stated that under Rule III of the BCI rules “wearing of advocate’s gown shall be optional except when appearing in the Supreme Court or in High courts”, reported the Times of India, and under Rule IV, “wearing of black coat is not mandatory” during summer.

The relaxed dress code, communicated in a letter of 16 July by the BCI, was a response to a letter sent on 2 June by the Tamil Nadu Federation of Women’s Lawyers, requesting the exemption because of the inordinate heat in summer, particularly in Tamil Nadu.

Sanjay Kishan Kaul becomes Madras chief justice

Punjab and Haryana high court chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul was today sworn-in as chief justice of the Madras high court.

The 55-year-old Delhi University law graduate and former senior counsel replaces Justice RK Agrawal, who was elevated to the Supreme Court, and acting chief justice Satish K Agnihotri. [The Hindu]

FIR, PIL wants Shiv Sena dismantled after Muslim force feeding debacle

The force feeding of a fasting Muslim by a Shiv Sena politician was termed “very regrettable and unfortunate” by the home minister in Parliament; an NGO meanwhile took legal action:

Advocate Imran Ali alleged that the act of Sena MP Vichare was a “deliberate act” to “grab public attention” and “hurt sentiments and religious feelings of Muslims”. He claimed that the act was “intentional” since the “Shiv Sena claims and has projected itself to be a non-secular party”.

The lawyer sought registration of an FIR under IPC sections 153A (promoting enmity), 295A (deliberate act to insult religious belief) and 298 (intent to wound religious feelings).

Indian Express

No Gopal: SC appoints RS Cheema as prosecutor in Coalgate

The Supreme Court has appointed senior advocate RS Cheema as the special public prosecutor (SPP) in the Coalgate scam special court trial, reported the PTI, presided over by additional sessions judge Bharat Parashar.

A week ago the bench of Chief Justice RM Lodha, Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph had heavily pushed for Gopal Subramanium, who bowed out of the apex court judgeship process, to become SPP.

Kerala CJ Manjula Chellur to become Calcutta HC's first female CJ

The Calcutta high court is set to get its first female chief justice, as Kerala high court chief justice Manjula Chellur gets trasnferred to Calcutta after its CJ Arun Mishra was elevated as a Supreme Court judge, reported the New Indian Express.

Justice Chellur became a Karnataka HC judge in 2000 and replaced now SC justice Chelameswar as Kerala HC’s CJ in November 2011.

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