Collegium dismisses government objection to advocate Sathyan’s criticism of Modi; recommends his elevation as Madras High Court judge once again

On January 17, the Collegium also recommended several appointments to the bar at the Madras, Allahabad and Karnataka High Courts.


THE Supreme Court Collegium on Tuesday reiterated the name of advocate R. John Sathyan, for his appointment as a judge of the Madras High Court.

The Collegium, which comprises Chief Justice of India Dr. D.Y. Chandrachud and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph, said that his sharing on social media of an article critical of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and another regarding the death by suicide of a medical college aspirant, would not impinge on his suitability or character for elevation to the bench, more so when a report of the Intelligence Bureau (IB) on him had noted that he enjoys a good personal and professional image, and there was nothing adverse regarding his integrity.

The Collegium also noted that all the consultee-judges at the relevant time, namely Justices Kaul, Indira Banerjee, V. Ramasubramanian and M.M. Sundresh had found him suitable for elevation.

The IB report on Sathyan said “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 on you India’ came to notice.”

On February 16, 2022, the Collegium made the recommendation to appoint Sathyan as a judge at the Madras High Court, which the government had returned to the collegium for reconsideration.

While reiterating the recommendation, the collegium also made it clear that Sathyan should be given precedence in the matter of appointment as judge over certain names separately recommended by the Collegium on January 17 for appointment as judges of the Madras High Court.

On January 17, the Collegium recommended the names of five advocates, namely Venkatachari Lakshminarayanan, Lakshmana Chandra Victoria Gowri, Pillaipakkam Bahukutumbi Balaji, Ramaswamy Neelakandan and Kandhasami Kulandaivelu Ramakrishnan, for their appointment as judges to the Madras High Court. Besides, it recommended the names of three judicial officers, namely Periyasamy Vadamalai, Ramachandran Kalaimathi and K. Govindarajan Thilakavadi, for elevation to the Madras High Court Bench.

The Collegium had also on January 17 recommended the names of nine advocates for elevation to the bar at Allahabad High Court. They are Prashant Kumar, Syed Qamar Hasan Rizvi, Manish Kumar Nigam, Manjive Shukla, Anish Kumar Gupta, Nand Prabha Shukla, Arun Kumar Singh Deshwal, Kshitij Shailendra and Vinod Diwakar. On the same day, it recommended the names of three advocates for elevation to the bar at the Karnataka High Court—Vijaykumar Adagouda Patil, Rajesh Rai Kallangala and Tajali Moulasab Nadaf.