Appointment of HC judges is made after considering seniority, merit: SC

Appointment of HC judges is made after considering seniority, merit: SC

NEW DELHI: The process of appointment of judges to high courts is through a well established process where the HC collegium considers seniority, merit and all inputs received by the government, the Supreme Court has said while imposing a cost of Rs 5 lakh on an advocate for abusing the court proceedings by trying to stop the elevation of a judge.

A bench of Justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh made the observation while dismissing a plea filed by an advocate seeking directions to consider the representation submitted by him and take necessary action with the proposal of appointment of high court Registrar General A Venkateswar Reddy as a judge of the Telangana High Court.

The three-member Supreme Court Collegium in a meeting held on August 17 had approved the proposal for elevation of six judicial officers as judges of the Telangana High Court including Reddy.

The top court was hearing a plea filed by advocate B.

Sailesh Saxena seeking directions to the Centre, Telangana and Registrar (Vigilance & Administration) of the High Court of Telangana to consider the representation submitted by him and take necessary action as per law for proceeding further with the proposal of appointment of Reddy as a judge of the Telangana High Court.

The petitioner made several allegations against the high court Registrar General and stated that his recommendation should not be processed for his elevation as a judge.

The petitioner advocate in his plea claimed that he was a legal advisor for the family of a MP belonging to the Telugu Desam Party and legal counsel for other politically connected persons and alleged that an FIR at the instance of the Registrar was filed on July 31, 2017 in pursuance to a direction issued by high court with a view to harass him.

The bench said the high court registrar general, as a responsible officer, only followed the direction passed by the high court judge.

The apex court said the high court opined that what the petitioner was attempting to do was to seek an investigation into the allegation that the evidence collected by the investigating officer in criminal complaints filed against him as fabricated and that was found to be nothing but a deflection towards derailing the course of investigation in the complaints lodged against the petitioner.

The writ petition was found to be thoroughly misconceived and appears to be an abuse of process of law and a counterblast to the series of criminal complaints in which persons belonging to the ‘so-called noble profession got involved’.

We are surprised as the brazenness of the petitioner now filing the present petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, the aforesaid being the finding against him, to now somehow see that the elevation of respondent No. 4 does not take place on the account of these proceedings initiated by the petitioner.

“This is gross abuse of process of law. The process of appointment of judges to the high court is under a well known established process where the collegium of the high court considers recommending the names and in case of judicial officers by seniority and on merits.

Thereafter, the proposed IB inputs and other inputs are obtained and the Government processes names.

“The collegium of the Supreme Court has the benefit of all the material before taking a call on whether to recommend the name or not. The appointment takes place thereafter by issuance of warrants of appointment. Thus sufficient safeguards exist in the system,” the bench said.

The top court said the endeavour of the petitioner is to harass respondent No. 4 (high court registrar General) and abuse the court proceedings.

“We are of the view that appropriate imposition of costs seems to be the only solution. We thus dismiss the writ petition with costs of Rs 5 lakh to be deposited with the Supreme Court Advocates On Record Welfare Fund within four weeks. We also think it appropriate that the Bar Council of Telangana examines the conduct of the petitioner as a member of the ‘Noble Profession’ and for that purpose a copy of the order be sent to the Bar Council of Telangana,” the bench said.


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