"Attempt To Cast Aspersions On Collegium Without Substantiating It", Kerala HC Dismisses Challenge Against Collegium Recommendations [Read Judgment]

"Attempt To Cast Aspersions On Collegium Without Substantiating It", Kerala HC Dismisses Challenge Against Collegium Recommendations [Read Judgment]

A Division Bench of the High Court of Kerala comprising Justice P R Ramachandra Menon and Devan Ramachandran has dismissed a plea challenging recommendations made by Collegium for elevation of five advocates as judges.

"The attempt of the appellants, therefore, is obviously to cast aspersions on the Collegium of Judges, but without in any manner substantiating it", observed the judgment authored by Justice Devan Ramachandran.

The Division Bench was considering the appeal filed against a single judge's judgment which had dismissed the petition,holding that collegium decisions are not justiciable.

The petition filed by C V Joveson and Sabu challenged the recommendations made by HC Collegium for elevation of advocates V G Arun, Viju Abraham , George Varghese, P Gopal and S Ramesh on the ground that they were connected to persons in power like former judges and Advocate General by way of kinship and affinity. The petition also contended that Collegium should have notified the vacancies so as to give opportunity to interested lawyers to submit applications.

The appellants conceded that the recommended names were eligible for judgeship; but their grievance was that the recommendees were connected to persons like  judges and Advocate General.

The Division Bench concurred with the finding of the Single Judge  that “The writ petition lacks bonafides, merit and truth, and is frivolous and mischievous”.

Justice Devan Ramachandran noted in the judgement that the petition lacked "most essential foundational averments and pleadings, to even engage the scrutiny of this Court". There was no mention regarding the date of enrollment and standing at bar of the C V Joveson, the first appellant, to support the averment that he was eligible for judgeship. It was also observed that the Court was "perturbed" by the submissions of Advocate Mathews Nedumpara, who appeared for the appellants, that the judgments of SC in 'First Judges case', 'Second judges case', 'Third judges case' and NJAC case were null and void. The Bench also noted with surprise that the appellants sought a declaration that collegium system was illegal.

"When the law has been so explicitly declared by the Hon'ble Supreme Court, we fail to understand how the writ petitioners could arrogate to themselves the locus or competence to make assertions and seek reliefs contrary to the afore judgments before this Court and we see that their ingenious effort, as has been vehemently argued by their counsel, Sri. Mathews J Nedumpara, is to plead that these judgments are all per incuriam and therefore, that they be declared so by this Court", observed the Court.

The Division Bench observed that it was a fit case for imposition of costs, but was refraining from doing so having regard to the professional career of the first appellant.

Out of the lawyers recommended by the HC Collegium, Advocates V G Arun and N Nagaresh were appointed as HC judges on November 5.

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