Collegium recommended the names only after effective consultations, says appellant

The Madras High Court moved the Supreme Court on Saturday to lift a Division Bench order to maintain status quo on the process of appointing 12 judges. The matter is likely to be mentioned on Monday for urgent listing.

The Registrar-General of the High Court described as baseless and unfounded the allegation made by senior advocate R. Gandhi, in a writ petition, that persons who had no independent practice figured in the list of 10 names from the Bar and that the High Court collegium of judges headed by the Chief Justice had not carried out effective consultations. The other two names are from the subordinate judiciary.

Mr. Gandhi also alleged that the collegium failed to look into the social composition of persons while making the recommendations.

The appellant said the collegium recommended the names only after effective consultations in the manner prescribed in the Memorandum of Procedure. It was settled law that no recommendation could be made on a communal or caste basis. Finding fault with the order of the Division Bench, the appellant said the status quo order was illegal and not sustainable in law as it had been passed without hearing the parties who were all constitutional authorities.

Moreover, when the writ petition itself was not maintainable, interim relief could not have been granted.

The impugned order amounted to interference in the recommendatory process of appointments made by the collegium.

Bad precedent

It would set a bad precedent and cause consternation in the functioning of the judiciary, rather than working to its advantage.

The appellant sought quashing of the impugned order dated January 9 and an interim stay of its operation.

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