President Pranab Mukherjee has cleared seven of the eight names recommended by the Supreme Court collegium of judges headed by Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam for appointment as judges of the Madras High Court. The warrant of appointment is expected in a couple of days after the President returns from his Kolkata visit for Durga Puja. They are: R. Mahadevan, K. Kalyanasundaram, P.N. Prakash, S. Vaidyanathan and a woman lawyer Pushpa Sathyanarayana and two service candidates V. Ravi and G. Chockalingam. The name of the eighth woman candidate G.M. Velumani from the Bar has not been cleared. Sources said her name would be sent back to the collegium for fresh consideration and if the collegium reiterates the appointment her name would also be cleared. This may, however, take at least a fortnight.

With their appointment, the strength of judges in the High Court will go up to 48 as against the sanctioned strength of 60.

In the last week of April this year, the acting Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Rajesh Kumar Agarwal, forwarded to the Union Law Ministry a list of 15 names, 13 from the Bar and two from the subordinate judiciary. Of this, one advocate withdrew his consent. Hence, he was not considered. Following representations from the Bar expressing reservations against certain persons and also taking into account the adverse comments of the State government, the Supreme Court collegium cleared only eight of the 14 names that were considered and sent to the Law Ministry for processing. Of the eight names, the PMO is understood to have sought certain clarifications in respect of Ms. Velumani. Hence, her name has been delinked and the remaining seven names were cleared by the President.

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