Justice Chelameshwar farewell
A file image of Justice Chelameswar | PTI
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Over the past few days, sources suggested that Justice Chelameswar planned to break convention and opt to sit in his own court along with brother judge Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

New Delhi: Justice Jasti Chelameswar will sit on a bench with Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra Friday, the former’s last working day.

It is a convention but not a rule that outgoing judges sit on benches led by the CJI on their last working day in court.

Over the past few days, there were indications that Justice Chelameswar planned to break convention and opt to sit in his own court along with brother judge Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul.

Justice Chelameswar, 65, officially retires on 22 June. However, with the apex court breaking for summer, 18 May will be his last working day.

He has turned down the official farewell party – usually organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) —preferring to keep his farewell a “private affair”.

Over the past few months, Justice Chelameswar has been fairly outspoken against CJI Misra’s way of functioning.

The 12 January press conference called by him and three other Supreme Court judges, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan Lokur and Kurian Joseph, was held at Justice Chelameswar’s official residence. At the unprecedented and historic briefing, the judges alleged “breach of institutional integrity” by the CJI, and questioned the manner in which he allotted sensitive cases.

In March, Justice Chelameswar wrote a letter to CJI Misra, expressing concerns over executive interference in the judiciary. In his letter, Justice Chelameswar reproached the Centre for its “impropriety”.

In fact, the executive’s bid to allegedly cherry-pick judges for the higher judiciary has been a major bone of contention between the four judges and CJI Misra.

On 26 April, the Centre cleared senior advocate Indu Malhotra’s appointment as a judge in the top court even as it asked the Supreme Court collegium to reconsider its recommendation to elevate Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice K.M. Joseph.

Since then, several collegium meetings have taken place to discuss the issue. Last week, Justice Chelameswar wrote another letter to CJI Misra, urging him to reiterate Justice Joseph’s name for elevation. When the top five judges of the apex court met last Friday, they agreed to reiterate Justice Joseph’s name for elevation. The final decision will be taken today in Justice Chelameswar’s last collegium meeting.

Justice Chelameswar, however, had opposed the opposition’s efforts for CJI Misra’s impeachment. In March, speaking to journalist Karan Thapar at an event organised by the Harvard Club of India, he said the CJI’s impeachment was not the solution to the crisis in the judiciary.

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