The Supreme Court today imposed a cost of Rs 10 lakh each on two persons for filing a “motivated” petition challenging the practise of recommending to the President, the name of successor by the incumbent Chief Justice of India. A bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud said that imposition of exemplary cost on Swami Om and Mukesh Jain was needed to send across a message to similarly placed people to deter them from filing such pleas. The petitioners, who did not allege anything in their plea against the CJI designate, referred to the constitutional scheme on the appointment of CJI and the Chief Justices of the High Courts and said that the process of recommending the name of successor by the incumbent CJI is against the spirit of Constitution. The bench in its order noted that Article 124A, amended by the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act, has already been set aside by a constitution bench.
Article 124 of the Constitution deals with the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court, while Article 124A provides for the composition of the National Judicial Appointments Commission. The apex court asked the petitioners to deposit the fine within a period of one month from today and said that the amount should be sent to the Prime Minister Relief Fund.
The bench ordered re-listing of the matter after a month if the petitioners fail to deposit the cost imposed.