Petition dealing with challenge to collegium system remitted, to be reconsidered afresh on maintainability

Kerala High Court: Deciding the appeal  preferred against the Single Judge’s order in an un-numbered writ petition challenging the collegium system of appointment of Judges, the Division Bench of Abdul Rehim and Sudheendra Kumar, JJ.  remitted the matter back for fresh consideration on the question of maintainability.

The Registry of the High Court had sought clarifications from the petitioner as to its maintainability, as to whether this Court could exercise writ jurisdiction over the Hon’ble Supreme Court and the collegium of the Supreme Court. Doubt was also raised as to the locus standi in filing the writ petition, which seemed to be in the nature of public nature. Queries by the Registry were answered by the  petitioner’s counsel observing that the power vested on this Court under Article 226 of the Constitution was wide enough to entertain the writ petition. The Registry posted the same as un-numbered before the Single Judge, who however dismissed the  petition,  rejecting the reliefs sought, on the ground that the writ petition was not numbered.

Setting aside the Single Judge’s order, the Court held that  learned Judge ought to have considered the question of maintainability of the writ petition and ought to have taken an appropriate decision on that question.  By rejecting the relief sought solely on the ground that the writ petition was not numbered, will definitely put the petitioner to a situation wherein he will be deprived of seeking remedy before any higher forum. Hence, the impugned order cannot be sustained. [Jacob Samuel   v. Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine Ker 11913, decided on July 25, 2016]

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