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'Not entertaining', SC refuses plea challenging Victoria Gowri's appointment as Madras HC judge

IANS | February 07, 2023 11:28 AM

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to entertain pleas challenging the appointment of Lekshmana Chandra Victoria Gowri as an additional judge of the Madras High Court.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjiv Khanna and B.R. Gavai said there is a difference between eligibility and suitability and on eligibility, there could be a challenge but suitability? It added, "the court should not get into it..."

Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, representing the petitioner, stressed that hate speech is something which runs antithesis to the Constitution and such an oath will be an insincere oath and only on paper. After hearing detailed arguments, the bench said: "we are not entertaining the writ petition, reasons will follow".

During the hearing, the bench said it cannot direct the collegium to reconsider its decision on Victoria Gowri's appointment as an additional judge of the Madras High Court, and if any member of the collegium had any reservation on Gowri, they would have taken it up.

Ramachandran said see the ugly haste in which the oath taking was notified and pointed out that the fact that this court was hearing was brought to the notice of the acting Chief Justice of Madras High Court. He added that yet they notified the appointment at 10.35 a.m., what is the significance of 10.35? That this court would decide in 5 mins?

Justice Gavai said there are instances of additional judges not being confirmed. Justice Khanna said to assume that the collegium has not taken these things into account, that may not be appropriate.

Senior advocate Anand Grover, representing the other petitioner, argued that they are not on the political views of the person, rather the problem is with her views expressed, which are so extreme, that they make it ex-facie evident that she is unfit to take oath as a judge.

The top court order came on petitions filed by Anna Mathew, R. Vaigai and others challenging Gowri's appointment as an additional judge of the Madras High Court.

The Supreme Court collegium on January 17 had proposed the elevation of advocate Lekshmana Chandra Victoria Gowri as judge of the Madras High Court.

A group of Madras High Court lawyers have opposed Gowri's proposed appointment after reports emerged about her affiliation to the BJP and also certain alleged statements about Muslims and Christians, including 'Love Jihad' and illegal conversion.

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