Wednesday 30 July 2014

Why Justice G.P. Singh was not elevated to the Supreme Court.

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


  1. Hat's-off to justice G.P SINGH SIR!!! Who performed his duties in his manner!!!

  2. sir is it true that being the son of a judge ,one has better chances of being a judge

  3. Justice Bhat was also a victim of the system. So also Justice A.P Shah was a victim, he was a good judge in Bombay and served well as Chief Justice of Madras and Delhi. Some of his judgements have truly rendered justice. While we know of the reasons in relation to Bhat J's supersession and eventual non-elevation, we known not of the reasons for that of Justice Shah. Nation is legitimately curious and desirous to know of the reasons for the same. Sir, you're blog has assisted the cause of transparency and debate for a better system of appointment. Your words on the reasons of non-elevation of Justice Shah will really add benificially we believe to the cause. It will also incidentally lay to rest the rumours of why he was not elevated to the high office.

  4. sir, i want to add that Justice Govardhan Lai Jamnalal Oza of Madhya Pradesh was appointed as CJ overlooking the seniority rule. At that relevant time, he was 11th in the seniority list of all-India judges. On May 1, 1983, he was made an acting chief justice and then confirmed in the same court, superseding five senior judges. when such kind of favours are being conferred on Oza J, why wouldnt he forward the 10 names?

  5. Dear Mr. Katju,

    It's glad to hear the unfair and sharp practices being played by the constitutional authorities.. which has gone down in the history book uncorrected and now painstakingly highlighted by you.

    It's sad and demoralising for the youth of India today to learn the power Hungary non-deserving people grabbing the constitutional seats and the sitting constitutional authorities (who have taken oath under the Constitution of India, COI) promoting them and also abdicating there constitutional duty. As if there is no check and balance in the Constitution of India to guide this kind of an unbridled and illegal functionality. A pity indeed!

    I however still wonder, why should you raise these most contentious and disturbing issues in Public today.. Creating a controversy where you are again at the epicentre.. Creating doubt and mistrust in the general masses against the Judiciary !

    When you were the CJ of the Madras HC You had the powers vested in you to take appropriate actions - still you chose to recommend the issue of corruption of a Judge to CGI. And conveniently passed on the buck.. Is it because you wanted your elevation smooth to SC. Don't you think today the youth of India should see you hand and glove with the other abdicators of there basic Constitutional duty ?

    You should have stopped the corrupt judge from hearing judicial matters and suspended him, till the enquiry didn't absolved him accordingly. Why didn't you take any action ?

    Or what actions did you take apart from updating the CJI Mr. Lahoti?

    Truth even if spoken late has the effect to rock the world, yes I agree. However, the abdication of your duties as a CJ and now inordinate delay in the current disclosure is just unpardonable.. And thereby calls for a Judicial inquiry.. Where your conduct must also be analysed and necessary action taken against you including others.

    Having said that (which may sound rather harsh to you), I feel the fact you bought these facts in the public light worth a pat on your back and for that I am proud of you. We in fact had high hopes from you.. Still have in your own capacity.


  6. And still people of this country vote for Congress party! What a shame.

  7. Sir, how many of these 10 committed were elevated to SC?,

  8. very good piece of work, we appreciate, keep it up