The Supreme Court collegium, headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam, has asked the Law Ministry to return the list of 12 names recommended for appointment as judges to the Madras High Court and the Tamil Nadu government, in deference to the wishes of lawyers in the State.

Note to Law Ministry

The decision to return the list was taken on Thursday and it was sent to the Law Ministry on Friday with a note that it may be returned to the High Court at once.

Now, a new High Court Chief Justice will have to start the process afresh as the present Chief Justice, R.K. Agarawal, has been elevated to the Supreme Court.

Highly-placed sources told The Hindu that though the Supreme Court collegium took into consideration the complaints submitted last month by the delegation of lawyers, led by MHAA president R.C. Paul Kanagaraj, Tamil Nadu Advocates Association president S. Prabhakaran, senior advocate R. Gandhi, Antony Selvaraj and others, it did not want to go into the merits of the allegations in the complaints.

It was made clear that this should not be taken as a precedent by other State Bar associations in the selection of candidates for appointment of judges.

Mr. Prabhakaran thanked the CJI for returning the list and said the Bar had nothing personal against those named.

“What the lawyers wanted was more transparency in the selection process and men and women who are knowledgeable in various branches of law to be selected. We also want a wider representation to ensure that hitherto un-represented communities are given representation by the incoming Chief Justice. There must be credible norms and those with active practice only must be considered for selection.”

The entire Bar in the State had been up in arms against the 12 names, and courts were boycotted. The strike was called off following an assurance from the CJI.

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