At a time when the government seems firm about bringing in a law to replace the collegium system of appointments to the higher judiciary, the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam has rejected names of six of the eight lawyers recommended for judgeship by the Punjab and Haryana High Court collegium in March.
Among names rejected are Manisha Gandhi, daughter of former Chief Justice of India A S Anand, and Girish Agnihotri, son of retired judge M R Agnihotri of the same high court. Names of two lawyers have been referred back to the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court for reconsideration.
Sources in the Ministry of Law and Justice told The Indian Express that the decision of the collegium, which reached the ministry some days ago, has already been forwarded to the high court chief justice.
Govt must have a say in appointment of judges, says Sibal
Apart from Gandhi and Agnihotri, the other names rejected are B S Rana, Gurminder Singh Kharbanda, Vinod Ghai and Raj Karan Singh Brar. The CJ’s remarks have been sought for senior advocate Arun Palli and H S Sidhu.
Over 1,000 members of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Bar Association had sent a signed resolution opposing the recommendations to the President, the CJI, the Prime Minister, the law minister and SC judges.
Opposing the recommendations, the lawyers alleged that only sons, daughters, relatives and juniors of high court and Supreme Court judges figured in the list sent by the HC collegium, and questioned the criteria for making the recommendations.
The resolution sent by the HC Bar Association said, “It has now become a matter of practice and convenience to recommend the names of those advocates who are the sons, daughters, relatives and juniors of former judges and chief justices. It really matters little to the collegium whether the sons, daughters, relatives and juniors of the judges whose