Thursday, October 13, 2011

Lawyer challenges process to select high court judges

Ahmedabad: An Ahmedabad lawyer has questioned the secret procedure followed to select judges to the higher judiciary. In his petition, advocate Asim Pandya has urged the Gujarat high court to make the process free of “political interference at the Central government level”. He demanded the process of appointing high court judges should be made subject to judicial review.
When the petition came up for hearing before acting chief justice A L Dave and justice J B Pardiwala, the judges recused from hearing the case. The matter will be referred to another bench.
Pandya’s name was recommended as high court judge in May 2009 by the then chief justice K S Radhakrishnan. He has authored four books on law and is presently associated with the office of advocate V H Patel, former BJP MLA.
Four judges were appointed in February this year but Pandya’s name did not figure on the list. He was not even informed that his name was dropped which irked him. Pandya has dubbed the selection process as not transparent, arcane and full of political interference. “Not bothering to even inform the recommended candidate over rejection of his name is inherently obnoxious and most retrograde from the point of view of human dignity,” the petition reads.
Pandya has argued that when high court judges, the governor and Supreme Court judges are involved in the process, politicians should stay away. At present, the chief justice, in consultation with two senior judges of the high court recommends the name of a member of the Bar as high court judge. The name is forwarded to governor. Intelligence officers start collecting information about the person. The governor then sends the name to the Union law ministry, and the council of ministers further it to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court collegium finalizes the name and forwards it to the President for issuing the warrant of appointment.
Pandya has also sought judicial review of the procedure on the ground that mere involvement of a few judicial officers in the selection process does not infuse the judicial element in it. He sought directions to the Centre, the Supreme Court, the high court and the state government to produce the file in which his name was proposed and whether decision was in accordance with constitutional provisions.

No comments:

Post a Comment