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Ex-CJI UU Lalit Says “No Circumstances Could Point In Direction Conclusively” In Chhawala Rape Case

"The inputs from governments are also brought on record after which the matter reaches central government," the former CJI said.

Former Chief Justice of India UU Lalit (Image: PTI)
Former Chief Justice of India UU Lalit (Image: PTI)

New Delhi: Former Chief Justice of India UU Lalit on Sunday spoke on various issues, including the Collegium and their judgement on the Chhawala rape case, saying and no circumstances that could point in their direction conclusively.

Speaking to ANI, former CJI UU Lalit said, “There were actually no circumstances that could point in their direction conclusively.” On the public outcry on his judgement in the Chhawala rape case, Justice Lalit said the law is that the chain must get completed. “The law is that the chain must get completed. The benefit of the doubt must flow in that direction,” Justice Lalit said.

He said, “Law is clear — that facts must point only in the direction of the guilt of that man, unless and until that guilt is completely established, circumstantial evidence-based case theory is not to be accepted.”

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Replying to Collegium issues, Justice Lalit said the Collegium process is well established and accepted. He added that in the last Collegium headed by former CJI NV Ramana, they could recommend 250 judges who ultimately got appointed. Justice Lalit said when it comes to the appointment of judges in high courts, the Collegium in the HC makes a recommendation of 1+2, which is then passed on to state governments.

“The inputs from governments are also brought on record after which the matter reaches central government,” the former CJI said. He said the Centre seeks opinion from the Intelligence Bureau about the profile of the person concerned.

“Then the matter reaches Supreme Court, where we take the opinion of consulting judges. After that, the Collegium starts making recommendations. It cannot recommend names other than that of the HC recommendations,” Justice Lait said.

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“Through this kind of methodology, in the last Collegium under former CJI NV Ramana, we could make 250 such recommendations which ultimately got accepted. Therefore, this process is well established and accepted,” Justice Lalit added.

Justice Lalit retired as CJI on November 8. He was succeeded by former CJI Justice NV Ramana, who retired on August 26, 2022.