Supreme Court collegium clears 19 names for elevation as high court judges

Sergio Conner
December 7, 2017

Of the 53 names discussed at the meeting comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and Justices Jasti Chelameswar and Ranjan Gogoi, only 44 were cleared - 25 Additional to Permanent and 19 advocates-to-judge. The collegium also noted that the CM had conveyed his disagreement on some names and forwarded communications from bodies of advocates expressing concern that the names recommended did not provide opportunity of representation to a cross-section of society.

The case of advocate B. Pugalendhi for elevation to the Madras High Court has been deferred for the present in the light of "certain adverse but unconfirmed inputs" received by the Collegium, the note said.

The collegium rejected the views of the Karnataka governor and chief minister expressing reservations on some of the names proposed by the high court. Incidentally, Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had opposed in writing names of some of the recommendees as did the State Governor. We find that the allegations made therein are frivolous and / or malicious in nature and appear to have been made with an ulterior motive to put spoke in the wheel of judicial appointment process.

"The Collegium resolves to recommend that Shampa Sarkar, Sabyasachi Chaudhury, Ravi Krishan Kapur, Arindam Mukherjee, and Sakya Sen, advocates, be appointed as Judges of the Calcutta HC". The governor had mentioned that some of the people recommended did not meet the requirement of efficiency in their performance. "He has advised that the entire proposal be returned to the High Court for reconsideration". It also cleared the names of 19 lawyers for elevation to the bench in some high courts. Recommendation of one lawyer was rejected on the grounds he did not qualify the "income criterion". However, considering his ability and performance and the HC's recommendation that there was shortage of judges from the bar, the top court collegiums relaxed the age criterion in his case. It turned down one name, as the person is past 55 years - the maximum prescribed for advocates recommended for elevation to HC.

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The Intelligence Bureau report on the advocates had revealed that the advocates recommended for elevation enjoyed "good personal and professional image and that nothing adverse has come to notice against their integrity".

Among the 10 advocates recommended by the high court on January 13 for appointment, advocate Kasaravalli Chythanya Keshavamurthy was not found "suitable for elevation" in view of "material on record".

With these appointments, the number of sitting judges in the Madras High Court is set to touch a record high but will still stay six short of the sanctioned strength of 75, according to The Times of India. Justice G Narendar, presently serving as an additional judge, has been recommended for appointment as a permanent judge of the Karnataka HC.

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