The Supreme Court Collegium Wednesday (18.01.2023) reiterated its earlier recommendation to appoint Advocate Somasekhar Sundaresan as a Judge of the Bombay High Court.
The Collegium headed by CJI DY Chandrachud said in a statement after its meeting on January 18, “All citizens have the right to free speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. Expression of views by a candidate does not disentitle him to hold a constitutional office so long as the person proposed for judgeship is a person of competence, merit and integrity.”
Sundaresan’s name was recommended by the Collegium of the Bombay High Court on October 4, 2021, followed by the SC Collegium on February 16, 2022. However, on November 25, 2022, the Centre sought reconsideration of the said recommendation on the grounds that “he has aired his views in the social media on several matters which are the subject matter of consideration before the courts”.
In response, the collegium said it was “of the view that the views on social media attributed to the candidate, do not furnish any foundation to infer that he is biased.” It added, “The issues on which opinions have been attributed to the candidate are in the public domain and have been extensively deliberated upon in the print and electronic media.”
The Supreme Court collegium stated, “The manner in which the candidate has expressed his views does not justify the inference that he is a ‘highly biased opinionated person’ or that he has been ‘selectively critical on the social media on the important policies, initiatives and directions of the Government’ (as indicated in the objections of Department of Justice) nor is there any material to
indicate that the expressions used by the candidate are suggestive of his links with any political party with strong ideological leanings.”
It noted that Sundaresan has specialised in commercial law and would be an asset to the Bombay High Court, which deals with a large volume of cases related to commercial and securities laws,