M A I N   N E W S

7 cleared for HC Judgeship
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, March 6
The President, Mr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, is learnt to have cleared seven names for appointment as Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

All seven are practising lawyers and their names had been recommended by the High Court collegium in November 2005.

The seven - senior advocate Paramjit Singh Patwalia and advocates Ranjit Singh Randhawa, Mr Vinod Sharma, Mr T.P.S. Mann, Mr Ajai Lamba, Mr Rajesh Bindal and Mr Mahesh Grover - are expected to take oath later this week.

While the first four advocates are from Punjab, the rest belong to Haryana. According to well-placed sources, President Kalam gave his consent to the new appointments this afternoon.

With their joining, the strength of Judges will go up to 35 from the present 28. This includes Chief Justice Mr Justice D.K. Jain. The sanctioned strength of the Punjab and Haryana High Court is 53.

Sources say that the case of six serving District and Sessions Judges, whose names have also been recommended for elevation, are in an advanced stage and could be cleared soon.

They are: Mr H.S. Bhalla, who at present posted as Legal Remembrancer, Punjab, Mr A.N. Jindal, at present posted as D&SJ (Vigilance), Punjab and Mr M.M.S. Bedi, D&SJ, Chandigarh, from the Punjab cadre. The D&SJs whose names have been recommended from Haryana cadre are Mr Arvind Goyal, presently posted as D&SJ, Panchkula, Mr S.D. Anand, D&SJ, Gurgaon, and Mr R.S. Madaan, Legal Remembrancer, Haryana.

Of the new names cleared for Judgeship, Mr Patwalia, who is the son of former Supreme Court Judge Justice Kuldip Singh (retd), is a designated senior advocate. Mr Randhawa, a former Army officer, started practising in the High Court after his retirement.

Mr T.P.S. Mann's father Piara Singh Mann was one of the leading criminal lawyers of the region, while Mr Vinod Sharma has earned a name for his expertise in civil and company matters. Mr Bindal's expertise is in taxation cases, while the other three are also well-versed in law.

Incidentally, the High Court will get new Judges after a gap of almost two years as strained relations between the previous Chief Justice, Mr Justice B.K. Roy, and the other two members of the collegium - Mr Justice G.S. Singhvi and Mr Justice V.K. Bali - ensured that no names were recommended. Both are Chief Justices of Andhra Pradesh and Kerala High Courts, respectively.

Sources disclosed that Chief Justice of India Mr Justice Y.P. Sabharwal, who has voiced the need to fill all vacant posts of Judges and judicial officers, personally ensured that all the names were cleared at the earliest.

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