One of the legendary Judges in India was Justice G.P. Singh, who was a Judge in the Madhya Pradesh High Court from November 1967, and became Chief Justice of that High Court in July 1978 and retired in January 1984.
Justice G.P. Singh was a Judge of the highest integrity and principles, and was also profoundly learned. His book 'Principles of Statutory Interpretation' is still regarded a classic.He was the senior of Justice J.S. Verma, who later became the Chief Justice of India.
Justice G.P. Singh deserved to be made a Supreme Court Judge by any standard. The reason why he was not elevated to the Supreme Court is a sad story, but which must be told.
After Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha's judgment which held Mrs. Indira Gandhi guilty of election malpractice and disqualified her, the Government of India decided to pack the High Courts and Supreme Court with 'committed' Judges.
Accordingly, some time in the early1980s, the Central Government sent a list of 10 lawyers to Chief Justice G.P. Singh and asked him to recommend these names for being appointed Judges of Madhya Pradesh High Court.
Now the traditional practice was always that it was the Chief Justice who initiates the name, by sending recommendations to the Government. Here the process was reversed.
On examining these names, Justice G.P. Singh found all these10 persons undeserving to be appointed as a Judge. Consequently he wrote back to the Union Law Minister that he would not recommend these 10 persons as they were undeserving, and he would be failing in his duties if he recommended them.
As a result, Justice G.P. Singh was never brought to the Supreme Court, and he retired in January 1984.
On his retirement, Justice G.L. Oza became Chief Justice and he immediately recommended these very 10 names whom Justice G.P. Singh thought to be undeserving, and shortly thereafter they were appointed as Judges in the High Court.
Soon thereafter Justice Oza, who was no match to Justice G.P. Singh in any way, was elevated to the Supreme Court