New Delhi: Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan has written to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi seeking an inquiry against Justice Surya Kant, who is currently the chief justice of the Himachal Pradesh high court and is rumoured to be in consideration for elevation to the Supreme Court. If Kant is elevated, he will serve as CJI from November 2025 to February 2027.
In his letter, Bhushan has pointed out to the chief justice that there are complaints of illegal property transactions and abuse of authority against Kant.
In January 2018, Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel had written to then CJI Dipak Mishra making clear his “respectful disagreement with the proposal” that Justice Surya Kant be appointed the chief justice of the Himachal Pradesh high court. Justice Goel stated that “Justice Surya Kant is not suitable for appointment as Chief Justice till thorough inquiry is conducted, as I have already opined”.
When in 2017, Justice Goel’s opinion had been sought regarding the elevation of Justice Kant as chief justice of the Himachal Pradesh high court, he had pointed out to then CJI Justice J.S. Khehar that there were several complaints against Kant. The complaints pertained to properties that he had acquired allegedly after being appointed as a judge.
Justice Goel had recommended that further inquiries be initiated into the matters, including an independent valuation of properties acquired by Justice Kant. However, in his letter of January 2018, Justice Goel told Justice Mishra that he had not received any feedback on his recommendations.
Meanwhile, in October 2018 Justice Kant was appointed chief justice of the Himachal Pradesh high court without the inquiries that Justice Goel had recommended.
Now, Prashant Bhushan has asked CJI Gogoi for an ‘in-house inquiry’ to be constituted to look into the complaints against Justice Kant. Pointing to his rumoured elevation to the Supreme Court, Bhushan’s letter says, “in our opinion his name should not be considered for elevation to this Honble Court without getting these serious allegations against him credibly investigated.”