Justice Chelameswar to skip his own farewell function

Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed

He had also skipped the farewell function that was organised for Justice TS Thakur by the SCBA.

The Supreme Court is now functioning with 24 Judges as against the strength of 31, sanctioned by Parliament. When Justice Chelameswar expressed disinclination, Singh requested him to reconsider his decision and said it would send a wrong message in the prevailing situation.

Justice Chelameswar, who has been a judge of the Supreme Court since 10 October, 2011, is slated to retire on 22 June. Justice Chelameswar reportedly cited personal reasons to decline the request.

At the Wednesday meeting, the three judges also raised issues regarding the finalisation of the MoP, the system which decides the terms of engagement between the judiciary and the executive. Sitting and former judges, the retiring judge's family, lawyers from all over the country and media attend it. Justice Chelameswar has not in the past attended these farewell functions.

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Justice Chelameswar was the senior most among the four judges who held the unprecedented press meet on January 12, where they had voiced concern about the "administration of justice" and selective allocation of cases by recent Chief Justices, including Chief Justice Misra, to preferred Benches in the Supreme Court.

Justice Chelameswar made news recently when he, along with three other Supreme Court Judges organised the unparalleled press conference against the way in which Chief Justice Misra was running the apex court.

In the intervening hours, the five-judge bench headed by the sixth senior-most judge was formed after the Chief Justice spoke to some judges, none of whom was from the collegium, the sources said. Justice Chelameswar retires on June 22, almost seven years after he joined the SC on October 10, 2011. He informed the lawyers that he had declined a farewell when he was transferred from the Andhra Pradesh High Court. This is the second letter on record that Justice Chelameswar is learnt to have written regarding Justice K M Joseph's elevation.

The last one was for Justice R.K. Agrawal on May 4. Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has denied that this has anything to do with the Government returning his file for reconsideration.

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