SC hearing on plea to restrain Gowri from taking oath as HC judge sees twists and turns

New Delhi: The high-profile hearing on pleas seeking to restrain Justice Lekshmana Chandra Victoria Gowri from taking oath as a judge of the Madras High Court saw several twists and turns in the Supreme Court on Tuesday, with rumours doing the rounds that the matter could be heard around 9.15 am, just an hour before her swearing in.

As soon as it was known that the swearing in of Gowri and four others as additional judges of the high court was scheduled at 10.35 am, the lawyers appearing for the petitioners in the apex court tried to get the matter, which was slated to be heard by a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and MM Sundresh as item number 38 on Tuesday, listed before that.

At around 8.50 am, rumours started spreading that the matter could be heard by a bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, after which the petitioners’ lawyers, including senior advocates Raju Ramachandran and Anand Grover, were seen waiting in the CJI’s courtroom.

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Soon after, the cause list on the apex court’s website showed that the two petitions were listed for hearing before a special bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and BR Gavai at 10.30 am as item number 301.

The lawyers, who were waiting in the CJI’s courtroom, rushed to court number seven, where the special bench was to assemble.

At around 10.25 am, five minutes before the scheduled court time, Justices Khanna and Gavai came to the dais and the hearing commenced.

After hearing the arguments for around 25 minutes, the bench said, “We are not entertaining the writ petition. Reasons will follow.”

Minutes before the apex court dismissed the pleas against Gowri’s appointment, she was administered the oath of office as an additional judge by the Madras High Court’s Acting Chief Justice, T Raja, at around 10:48 am.

The top court was hearing two pleas, including one moved by three Madras High Court lawyers, that opposed Gowri’s appointment as an additional judge.

A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud had on Monday posted the plea of the three lawyers on February 10 but later, advanced it to February 7 after Ramachandran mentioned it again, saying the Centre has notified Gowri’s appointment.

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