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Traditions Broken: SC Collegium ‘interviews’ candidates shortlisted for HC judge posts [Read Resolutions]

The SC collegium members — Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice Jasti Chelameswar and Justice Ranjan Gogoi on 26th March, Monday created history by breaking the traditions of the Court and thereby conducting an informal interview of the persons who were shortlisted by the respective High Court collegiums. The Collegium interacted with as many as 12 lawyers and trial court judges who were recommended for appointment as permanent judges in the Calcutta and Madhya Pradesh High Courts.

The Collegium invited all the recommendees with a view to have an interaction with them. It considered various materials, including the views of the state Chief Ministers as forwarded by their respective Governors and the Intelligence Bureau reports. The resolution said:

“For purpose of assessing merit and suitability of the above-named recommendees for elevation to the High Court, we have carefully scrutinized the material placed in the file which includes the views of the Chief Minister and the Governor for the State of Madhya Pradesh, report/s of the Intelligence Bureau, report of the Judgment Evaluation Committee, as well as the observations made by the Department of Justice in the file. Apart from this, we invited all the recommendees with a view to have an interaction with them.”

For the Calcutta High Court, the collegium has recommended the names of five advocates — Biswajit Basu, Amrita Sinha, Dr Sutanu Kumar Patra, Abhijit Gangopadhyay and Jay Sengupta. It has recommended the names of advocate Sanjay Dwivedi, and four judicial officers — Akhil Kumar Shrivastava, Brij Kishore Shrivastava, Rajendra Kumar Shrivastava and Mohd Fahim Anwar, for appointment as permanent judges in the Madhya Pradesh High Court.The collegium also recommended Justice Ramendra Jain, additional judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, to be appointed as a permanent judge in the same court. It added that since the current term of Justice Jain is going to expire shortly on April 19, 2018, the recommendation for appointment of Justice Jain as permanent judge be processed expeditiously.

According to a report by Hindustan Times, Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta lauded the move, saying “Although a new procedure but according to me it’s a good and a welcome move.” The interaction would give the collegium an opportunity to know future high court judges, he said.

The development has thus been hailed as a step towards improving the selection process of senior judges, a contentious matter between the government and judiciary. Even within the higher judiciary there have been differences over the way judges are picked.

Read Resolution Here:

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