In high court z CJ’s bench recuses from hearing
A lawyer from the Gujarat High Court has challenged the present system of appointment to higher judiciary saying it is ‘non-transparent’ and ‘full of political interference’. But when the matter came before a division bench of acting Chief Justice A L Dave and Justice J B Pardiwala on Thursday, it recused itself from hearing the petition.
The lawyer, Asim Pandya, was reportedly invited to join judiciary in May 2009 by the then Chief Justice of Gujarat HC. He has stated that he is in complete dark on the status of a proposal that followed the invitation.
Pandya has raised some fundamental questions related to the issue of appointment to the higher judiciary and sought the court to declare the entire process of appointment amenable to judicial review.
He has also demanded that when the process to appoint a person to higher judiciary has been initiated, but he is not appointed, the constitutional authorities should inform him why he was not appointed. And that before such a decision effecting non-appointment, the Chief Justice of India should ask the candidate’s response, which should also be considered by the collegium before the final decision.
The petitioner has joined the central and state governments, Supreme Court and Gujarat HC as respondents to the petition.
According to the petition,
in May 2009, the then Chief Justice of Gujarat K S Radhakrishnan invited him to join the judiciary. After Pandya’s willingness, Justice Radhakrishnan — in consultation with two senior-most judges — sent the proposal for appointment of eight persons, including Pandya, as HC judge.
Pandya says in the petition that till date he is in the dark and does not know if the proposal for his appointment has been taken up. Three of the eight candidates were appointed HC judges in February 2011. “Thus, it appears that the name of the petitioner has been dropped or omitted for the appointment to the post of HC judge on some irrelevant ground or on some misleading material not germane to the suitability of the petitioner to become a judge,” says the petition.