The Supreme Court Collegium has reiterated its February 16, 2022 recommendation for appointing advocate R John Sathyan as a judge of the Madras High Court, brushing aside the objections of the Intelligence Bureau to his social media posts including the one critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The three-judge Collegium headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph said it resolved in its meeting on January 17, 2023 to reiterate its earlier recommendation for elevation of advocate Mr Sathyan as a judge of the Madras High Court.
The Collegium noted that the Intelligence Bureau (IB), while objecting to Mr Sathyan's social media posts has reported he has a good personal, professional image and nothing adverse has been found with regard to his integrity.
It said Mr Sathyan belongs to the Christian community and the IB report notes he does not have any overt political leanings.
"In this view, the Collegium is of the considered opinion that R. John Sathyan is fit and suitable for being appointed as a Judge of the Madras High Court. The Collegium, therefore, resolves to reiterate its recommendation dated February 16, 2022 for appointment of R. John Sathyan, advocate, as a Judge of the Madras High Court," said the resolution uploaded on the Supreme Court website.
The Collegium said when it first recommended Mr Sathyan's elevation to judgeship, all consultee-judges -Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Indira Banerjee (now retired), Justice V Ramasubramanian and Justice MM Sundresh- had found him suitable for holding the position.
"The IB report indicates as under: "As per open sources, two posts made by him, i.e. sharing of an article published in 'The Quint', which was critical of the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi; and another post regarding committing of suicide by medical aspirant Anitha, who ended her life in 2017 since she was unable to clear NEET, portraying it as a killing by 'political betrayal' and a tag stating 'shame of you India' came to notice," the resolution said.
It added all consultee judges had a favourable opinion about the suitability of Mr Sathyan and the IB report has found "he enjoys a good personal and professional image and that nothing adverse has come to notice against his integrity".
"In this backdrop, the adverse comments of the IB extracted above in respect of posts made by him i.e. sharing an article published in 'The Quint' and another post regarding committing of suicide by a medical aspirant candidate in 2017 will not impinge on the suitability, character or integrity of Shri Sathyan," the Collegium said.
It recommended that Mr Sathyan be given precedence in the matter of appointment as judge over certain names separately recommended in the Collegium meeting held in January 17 for appointment as judges of the Madras High Court.
The collegium has separately recommended the elevation of advocates Venkatachari Lakshminarayanan, Lekshmana Chandra Victoria Gowri, Pillaipakkam Bahukutumbi Balaji, Ramaswamy Neelakandan and Kandhasami Kulandaivelu Ramakrishnan as judges of the Madras High Court.
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