14 Sep 2023 4:05 PM GMT
The Haryana government today defended its action of rejecting the recommendations made by the High Court for appointment of Additional and District Sessions judges in the State.In an affidavit, Haryana Chief Secretary Sanjeev Kaushal submitted that they took legal opinion from the Union Law Ministry on the matter which said that Haryana government would not be bound to accept High...
The Haryana government today defended its action of rejecting the recommendations made by the High Court for appointment of Additional and District Sessions judges in the State.
In an affidavit, Haryana Chief Secretary Sanjeev Kaushal submitted that they took legal opinion from the Union Law Ministry on the matter which said that Haryana government would not be bound to accept High Court's recommendations if the Haryana Superior Judicial Service Rules were amended unilaterally by the HC.
Kaushal said they had received an Advocate's letter alleging that the High Court modified the eligibility criteria for appointments, without involving the State government. It is alleged that High Court prescribed cut off marks in viva-voce as 50%, without consulting the State or even giving any public notice of the same.
The Union Law Ministry said that consultation with State government for amending the Haryana Superior Judicial Service Rules is "mandatory" and in case of alleged non-consultation, Haryana Government may even opt for a judicial review.
The High Court had yesterday summoned by the Chief Secretary, after taking objection to a 'per se contemptuous' letter recommended by the Chief Minister was addressed to the High Court, conveying State's decision to not accept its "arbitrary" recommendations for promotion of 13 judicial officers.
The letter was annexed along with a status report furnished by the government in a petition seeking to conclude the selection and notification of district judges appointments by way of promotion of selected/recommended candidates.
Petitioner's counsel Gurminder Singh submitted that in case any clarification was required, the Governor ought to have consulted the High Court and not to the Union government.
Article 233 of the Constitution prescribes that appointment of district judges in any State shall be made by the Governor of the State in consultation with the jurisdictional High Court. No role is assigned to the Central government in this regard, the petitioner's counsel argued.
Nodding in agreement, the High Court pointed that Centre had relied on "irrelevant" case laws related to electricity to render its opinion on "requirement of consultation for amending Rules".
During the hearing, the bench comprising Justice GS Sandhawalia and Justice Harpreet Kaur Jeewan also wondered if the impediment in appointment was deliberate. "Who is the blue eyed boy for whom the state is sitting on the High Court's recommendation?...We must have missed him in the recommendation," it orally remarked.
However, the Advocate General maintained that the State is only concerned with the procedural aspect. "We are only on procedure," he said.
Court also pulled up the Chief Secretary for not using appropriate language in the letter and orally remarked, "Your lower officers needs to go to the Mahatma Gandhi State Institute of Public Administration to learn how to address the Constitutional bodies.'
The matter is now listed on October 09, Meanwhile, Court has granted liberty to the petitioner to amend the plea in view of subsequent developments on the subject.
Case Title: Shikha & others Vs. State of Haryana and others
Appearance: Gurminder Singh, Senior Advocate with Harpriya Khaneka, Advocate for the petitioners.
B.R. Mahajan, Advocate General, Haryana with Arun Beniwal, DAG, Haryana, for respondent Nos.1 & 2.
Munisha Gandhi, Senior Advocate with Shubreet Kaur Saron, Advocate for respondent No.3
Click here to read/download the order