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30 Mar 2020, 02:49 HRS IST
  • PTI
    • Bookworm
  • Two hours given to Justice A N Ray to decide on CJI post?
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  • New Delhi, Jul 16 (PTI)
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    ormer Chief Justice of India A N Ray was given "two hours" to decide on accepting the top judicial post in the country in 1973, that had created a controversy as his appointment had led to the supersession of three senior judges of the top court, according to a latest book.

    "If I didn't accept (the post), someone else would have been offered it. I did not hanker for it," Justice Ajit Nath Ray is quoted as saying in the book "Supreme Whispers", authored by Abhinav Chandrachud, the grandson of former Chief Justice Y V Chandrachud.

    However, Justice Ray's statement about being given "two hours" to decide on taking over as the CJI has been challenged by some other senior judges of that period, who claimed in the book that he knew about his upcoming appointment much in advance. Justice Ray passed away in 2010.

    This and several other claims and counter-claims were made by over 66 Supreme Court judges in their interviews to American scholar George H Gadbois Junior in the 1980s, which is now out in the book.

    Justice Ray's appointment by the then Indira Gandhi regime, superseding three senior judges of the top court - Justices Jaishanker Manilal Shelat, A N Grover and K S Hegde, was viewed as an attack on the independence of the judiciary.

    The appointment was made on April 25, 1973, a day after the SC's judgement in the Kesavananda Bharati case, where a 13-judge constitution bench, by a 7-6 verdict, had outlined the 'basic structure' doctrine of the Constitution.

    While Justice A N Ray was among the six dissenting judges in the case, Justices Shelat, Hegde and Grover, whom he had superseded, were on the side of the majority.

    But Ray's statement that he was given two hours to decide to accept the post of CJI was challenged by Justices Hegde and P Jaganmohan Reddy, who said that Ray knew long before that he would take over from Justice Sarv Mittra Sikri.

    Justice Reddy was the Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court between 1966-69.

    "In fact, at a dinner held for the Russian ambassador a week before the supersession, P Jaganmohan Reddy and his wife had h

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