In a move which could trigger yet another round of friction between the executive and the judiciary, the government has started a detailed scrutiny of professional track record of advocates and judicial officers recommended by high court collegiums for appointment as judges, reports PTI.
A Ministry of Law and Justice document said now the process of detailed scrutiny of proposals received for appointment of judges from high courts has been initiated.
The reported judgments of advocates are being looked into and considered and in case of judicial officers their case disposal time and number of adjournments are being evaluated by an in-house team having legal background.
The document — a monthly report of achievements for the month of July — was sent to the Cabinet Secretariat by the Department of Justice in August.
A committee of judges evaluates the best few judgements of judicial officers (judges of the subordinate courts), who are part of a larger pool which the high court collegium may consider for recommendation for elevation to the HC bench.
The judicial officers are evaluated on various attributes and are given numerical grading.
Advocates who are part of the pool have to give a list of the reported judgments of cases which they have argued in the high court.
As per procedure, once the three-member HC collegium recommends a name to the Supreme Court collegium, it sends the performance record of the candidate.
The recommendation is initially sent to the law ministry, which attaches an IB report about the candidate’s overall record and forwards it to the SC collegium for a final call.
Now, the law ministry has started scrutinising the reported judgements of advocates and case disposal time and number of adjournments granted by judicial officers.
Citing the case of former Calcutta High Court judge C S Karnan, the government had in July once again asked the Supreme Court collegium to review the process of appointment of judges, according to the senior government functionary.
The Secretary (Justice) in the law ministry has written to the Supreme Court Registrar General pointing to the July 5 judgement of the apex court in which two judges had called for the need to revisit the process of selection and appointment of judges.
Judicial appointments as of now are being carried out based on the old memorandum of procedure (MoP).
After a bench headed by then Chief Justice J S Khehar, ruled in December, 2015 in favour of a fresh MoP – a document which guides appointments and elevation of Supreme Court and high court judges, a new draft was sent to the collegium by the law ministry.