Supreme Court collegium does not accept Jayalalithaa's plea

The Supreme Court collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia, has cleared four of the seven names recommended by the Madras High Court for appointment as High Court Judges. The High Court early this year sent a list of seven names, four from the subordinate judiciary – P. Devadas, R. Karuppiah, M. Vijayaraghavan and Registrar General S. Vimala and three from the Bar – K. Ravichandrababu, P. Wilson and M. Ajmalkhan for elevation as Judges.

At that time it was expected that the appointments would materialise before the new government assumed office.

However, due to procedural delay, the process could not be completed expeditiously. Even as the Union Law Ministry received inputs from the previous DMK government and the Intelligence Bureau, the Assembly elections to Tamil Nadu were announced.

The names were forwarded to the Supreme Court collegium and even as the list was pending consideration, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa wrote to the Centre requesting for recall of the entire list citing change of government and that its views should also be considered.

The collegium at its meeting on July 28 considered the names and did not agree with the Chief Minister's plea for recall of the entire list.

However, taking into account the various inputs, the collegium cleared only four names, viz two district judges P. Devadas, R. Karuppiah, and Registrar General S. Vimala and advocate Ravichandrababu. In respect of another district judge, Mr. Vijayaraghavan, the decision has been deferred with a view to getting more inputs.

According to highly placed sources in the Law Ministry the names are expected to be processed and sent to the Prime Minister's Office for forwarding to President Pratibha Patil for appointment. The whole exercise is expected to be completed in two to three weeks, say sources. The present strength of Judges in the High Court is 49. Of them, 42 are permanent judges and seven, additional judges.

The sanctioned strength is 60 judges. With the appointment of four more judges, the strength will go up to 53. Sources say that with the resignation of Justice P.D. Dinakaran, the chances of Justice D. Murugesan, now number three in the High Court, for being considered for elevation as Chief Justice of any other High Court are very bright.