Collegium reiterates adv as HC judge despite IB report on Modi criticism

The three-judge Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph said it resolved in its meeting on January 17 to reiterate its earlier recommendation.
 Supreme Court
Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Collegium has reiterated its February 16, 2022, recommendation to appoint advocate R John Sathyan as a judge of the Madras High Court, brushing aside the objections of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) to his social media posts, including the one critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The three-judge Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph said it resolved in its meeting on January 17 to reiterate its earlier recommendation.

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) report had highlighted two social media posts by Sathyan: an article critical of Modi that he shared, and commenting ‘political betrayal’ and ‘shame on you India’ in a post on the suicide of medical aspirant S Anitha in 2017 after being dejected over not clearing NEET.

However, even while objecting to Sathyan’s social media posts, the agency reported that “he enjoys a good personal and professional image and that nothing adverse has come to notice against his integrity”, the Collegium noted.

The Collegium said when it first recommended Sathyan’s elevation to judgeship, all consultee-judges - Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Indira Banerjee (now retired), V Ramasubramanian and MM Sundresh - had found him suitable.

“In this backdrop, the adverse comments of the IB… will not impinge on [his] suitability, character or integrity,” the Collegium said, adding that it was of the considered opinion that Sathyan was fit and suitable for being appointed as a judge.

He should be given precedence over certain names separately recommended in the meeting held on January 17, it added.

The Collegium separately recommended the elevation of advocates V Lakshmi Narayanan, LC Victoria Gowri, PB Balaji, R Neelakandan, and KK Ramakrishnan, and district judges P Vadamalai, R Kalaimathi, and G Thilakavathi as High Court judges.

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