The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Union Law Ministry to maintain status quo till Thursday with regard to the list of names recommended for the post of High Court Judges.

The matter has been posted for further hearing at 2.15 p.m. on January 9.

A public interest litigation petition seeking a direction to the authorities to return immediately the list sent by the High Court collegium in December last year so as to send a fresh list came up before a Division Bench comprising Justice V.Dhanapalan and K.K.Sasidharan. The petitioner also said competent lawyers from unrepresented communities should be recommended for elevation.

The petitioner’s counsel, S.Prabakaran, said a majority of the 10 candidates recommended for elevation from the Bar had only been assisting the senior lawyers in conducting litigation. They had no independent practice.

In its order, the Bench said the issue required to be considered in the light of constitutional provisions, more particularly Art. 217 (Appointment and conditions of the office of a Judge of a High Court), and the memorandum of procedure for appointment/transfer of Judges. He wanted an order of interlocutory injunction till the disposal of the main petition.

The Bench said, “Post the writ petition for further hearing at 2.15 p.m. on January 9. There shall be an interim order directing the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company Affairs, Government of India, to maintain status quo in the matter as on today, in the meantime.”

Before commencing the proceedings, Mr. Justice Dhanapalan said the behaviour of some advocates in his court hall in the morning could not be appreciated. The Madras High Court Advocates’ Association had called for a court boycott on Wednesday in support of the demand for recalling the list of recommended names for the post of Judges. The Judge said some advocates, whom he personally knew, came to the court hall where he was sitting and raised slogans.

He could even give the names of those advocates. “When we are talking about discipline, we must have discipline for ourselves.”

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