Sunday, April, 02,2023

SC declines plea against appointment of Victoria Gowri as Madras HC judge

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to entertain a plea against the appointment of Lekshmana Chandra Victoria Gowri as an additional judge of the Madras High Court.
A bench of Justices Sanjeev Khanna and BR Gavai declined to stay the oath ceremony of advocate Victoria Gowri as a Madras High Court judge. Victoria Gowri took oath as an additional judge of the Madras High Court, while the hearing was going on in the apex court.
The court said that it cannot presume that the Collegium was not aware of Gowri's political background or her controversial statements and that the top court would not at this juncture interfere with the Collegium's decision.
"We are not entertaining the writ petition. Reasons will follow," the apex court said while concluding the hearing.
Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, appearing for the petitioners, said Victoria Gowri has been rendered unfit to take oath due to her public utterances.
Justice Khanna said there are instances of persons with political backgrounds being appointed as judges.
The materials are of speeches from 2018 and the Collegium must have gone through before recommending the name of Victoria Gowri, the bench observed.
Justice BR Gavai said, "I also have a political background before joining the court as a judge, I have been a judge for 20 years and my political background has not come in my way."
Ramachandran said that this was not a matter of mere political speeches or opinions by Victoria Gowri but many of her statements amount to hate speech.
He said, "Hate speech is something which runs anti thesis to the constitution and such an oath will be an insincere oath and only on paper."
The bench then said that the Collegium must have considered such material and passing a judicial order now would amount to going against the Collegium's wisdom. The apex court also said that the appointment of Victoria Gowri is only as an additional judge and the Collegium can reconsider its decision and not make her permanent after her tenure as an additional judge is over.
The top court was hearing pleas to set aside the Collegium recommendation for her appointment.
Yesterday, the plea was mentioned before a bench headed by CJI DY Chandrachud seeking an urgent hearing against the appointment of Victoria Gowri. The CJI then posted the matter for hearing today.
Victoria Gowri was appointed as an additional judge in the Madras High Court yesterday and the announcement had come minutes before the lawyer sought an urgent hearing.
Minister of Law and Justice Kiren Rijiju yesterday in a tweet shared a list of whose appointment for the judgeship was cleared by the Centre.
A section of the Madras High Court bar had sent a representation to the CJI urging the Collegium to recall the proposal of appointment of advocate Victoria Gowri as a judge.
The proposal regarding advocate Victoria Gowri became controversial after certain statements made against minorities surfaced in the public domain.
The plea against her elevation accused Victoria Gowri of exhibiting "strong prejudice" against citizens on the ground of their religious affiliation.
It also questioned her political affinity, saying she has been a National General Secretary of the Bharatiya Mahila Morcha, the women's wing of the BJP.
The Supreme Court Collegium headed by CJI Chandrachud had on January 17 proposed Victoria Gowri's name, along with that of the others, for elevation to the Madras High Court. (ANI)

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