The All India Bar Association on Thursday brought to President Pranab Mukherjee's attention its "deep anguish" on views of Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju that the Chief Justice of India should be selected on merit and not on the basis of seniority, saying the current system as stood the test of time.
The All India Bar Council said it condemns any attempt to bring out such a proposal which could potentially hamper independence of judiciary.
In a communication to the President, its chairman Adish C Aggarwal referred to a ruling by a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in 1993 and said the apex court had held that the principle of seniority must be followed in determination of the incumbent to the office of the Chief Justice of India.
"The practice of the seniormost judge being appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has stood test of time. It has been mandated by the Supreme Court on the judicial side.
It has the approval of the Bar and the community of jurists. It immunises the judiciary from political influence," said Aggarwal.
Katju, a former Supreme Court judge, last week had pitched for appointment of Chief Justice of India (CJI) on the basis of merit and not on the basis of seniority.
He said there is no constitutional provision or statutory rule of the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court being appointed as Chief Justice and therefore "outstanding" chief justice of a High Court can directly be appointed as chief justice of the Supreme Court.
Katju felt the convention of appointment of CJI at present is often leading to "undesirable results" causing great harm to the judiciary.