Supreme Court notice to High Court on 2 district judges’ plea against collegium pick : The Tribune India

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Supreme Court notice to High Court on 2 district judges’ plea against collegium pick

Supreme Court notice to High Court on 2 district judges’ plea against collegium pick


Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 13

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Himachal Pradesh High Court Registrar General on a petition filed by two senior-most district and sessions judges alleging that they were ignored by the high court Collegium in elevation, despite their seniority and unblemished career record.

A Bench of Justice Hrishikesh Roy and Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra asked the high court Registrar General to respond to the petition filed by Chirag Bhanu Singh and Arvind Malhotra after senior advocate Arvind Datar submitted on their behalf that judicial officers junior to them had been recommended to be appointed as judges of the high court under the in-service quota.

The Bench – which specifically wanted to know if the high court collegium considered the petitioners’ name or not – posted the matter for further hearing on July 15.

Petitioners Singh and Malhotra — presently serving as the district and sessions judges at Bilaspur and Solan, respectively – alleged that their names have not been considered by the high court Collegium for elevation.

The top court collegium’s decision to send their names for reconsideration by the High Court collegium was followed by a communication from Union law minister to the CJ of the high court urging him to reconsider the names of the petitioner judicial officers, they said.

However, the high court collegium didn’t consider their names and proceeded to deliberate upon names of other junior judicial officers, the petitioners alleged.

The process adopted by the HC Collegium stood procedurally and substantially vitiated as the same was contrary to established constitutional convention, they submitted.

“The petitioners are the senior most judicial officers in the state and they have unblemished records,” Datar said. Questioning the process for elevation of judicial officers by the high court collegium, he said the petitioners’ merit and seniority were ignored despite the issue being specifically referred to in the top court collegium’s January 4, 2024 resolution. Datar also referred to a subsequent communication of the Union Ministry of Law and Justice to the HP High Court and said the petitioners’ names should have been considered by the high court collegium.

Injustice with judges

Judges alleged that they were ignored by the HC in elevation despite their seniority and unblemished career record.

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