Victoria Gowri’s elevation as a Judge

Victoria Gowri, a lawyer, was today sworn in as an Additional Judge of the Madras High Court after the Supreme Court dismissed a petition seeking reconsideration of the SC Collegium’s recommendation to appoint her.

A section of lawyers of Tamilnadu were opposing her elevation on the ground that she was closely associated with the BJP, having been National General Secretary of the Bhartiya Mahila Morcha, the womens wing of the BJP, and because she allegedly gave some statements against Christians and Muslims

When I was the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court ( 2004-2005 ) I refused to recommend any name of a person for elevation as a High Court Judge who was known to be closely associated with any political party, whether DMK, ADMK, Congress or BJP, as I was of the opinion that the person would not be impartial and neutral, as a judge should be.

However, it may be mentioned that Chief Justice MC Chagla, of the Bombay High Court in the 1950s, though a Muslim, recommended the name of a lawyer who was in the RSS, and got him appointed as a judge of Bombay High Court, despite the objection of the Chief Minister of Bombay ( as Maharashtra was then known ), Morarji Desai ( see Chagla’s autobiography ‘Roses in December’ ), Chagla has written that he proved to be a good judge, and never discriminated between Hindu and Muslim.

Hence I appeal to Tamilnadu lawyers that they should give Justice Victoria Gowri some time, and see her performance as a judge before taking any further step. After all, she has been appointed only as an additional judge for 2 years. If they still have a grievance after watching her performance, they can always raise it before the Chief Justice of India when the time comes for making her permanent.


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