New Delhi: The Chief Justice of India (CJI) will soon have an exclusive secretariat that will function as his residence-cum-office and also host collegium meetings.
Sources in the Supreme Court have told ThePrint that renovation work has started to integrate two bungalows in Lutyens’ Delhi. The 5, Krishan Menon Marg, which is the official residence of the CJI, will be combined with the adjacent 7, Krishna Menon Marg to establish a bigger residence-cum-office.
Until now 7, Krishna Menon Marg was occupied by a senior judge of the Supreme Court. Justice Bobde had also lived there before he was appointed as the CJI and moved to the other official bungalow.
Both bungalows fall in the category of Type 8 residential government accommodation and are part of the Supreme Court’s resources. While the 5, Krishan Menon Marg is 642 square meter in size, the 7, Krishna Menon Marg is 711 square meters.
The accommodation committee of the top court has been monitoring the project to assimilate the two bungalows.
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New complex to have a collegium secretariat
The staff associated with the CJI currently operates from the two-room office located inside 5, Krishan Menon Marg. Due to lack of space at the official residence, the collegium meetings are held inside the CJI’s chamber in the Supreme Court premises.
“The new complex will also have a secretariat to assist the collegium, besides the office of the CJI. The communication done with regard to appointments will now be through the new office address,” a senior registry official told ThePrint.
According to sources, construction work on interiors has been started at the 7, Krishna Menon Marg.
“Since the premises was used for residential purposes, alterations will be done to transform it into an office building. The boundary wall between the two plots will be pulled down to assimilate them so that the new complex is accessible from within the CJI’s residence,” a source told ThePrint.
The Supreme Court has also got four additional bungalows added to its pool in order to accommodate the increased strength of judges from 31 to 34.
The President had, in August last year, approved The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Bill that was earlier passed by the Parliament. In September, four new judges were appointed to the top court.
Move for a secretariat initiated last year
Former CJI Ranjan Gogoi had in October last year written to the Union law minister asking for a suitable residence-cum-office for the CJI. A proper infrastructure was needed for effective management and functioning of the office, Gogoi had said in his letter.
He had also mentioned shortage of space at 5, Krishna Menon Marg and suggested consolidation of the two bungalows to create a new work space for the CJI that could function as a secretariat as well as a record room.
In his letter, Justice Gogoi had referred to the draft Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for appointments to the higher judiciary. According to this MoP, a permanent secretariat will be set-up in the Supreme Court to assist the collegium in discharging its function.
He said the draft MoP was accepted in principle by the collegium. According to the MoP, the secretariat would maintain a database of judges in the high courts, schedule the collegium meetings, keep record of proceedings and receive recommendations or complaints in matters related to the appointment of judges.
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