A Division Bench of the Patna High Court comprising Justices Shivaji Pandey and Parth Sarthy issued notice on a petition challenging the recommendation made by the High Court collegium last July for elevation of 15 advocates as HC Judges
The bench has asked the respondent - Union of India and Patna High Court - to come prepared with their respective stand/response on the next date of hearing, i.e., September 25.
The petition, filed by an Advocate of the High Court, Dinesh Singh, alleged casteism, cronyism and denial of social justice in the collegium recommendations.
Advocate Dinesh alleged that the impugned list of recommended candidates completely disregarded the Memorandum of Procedure by totally excluding OBCs/ SCs and STs. According to him, the names entailed in the list were unfit to discharge the duties of a high court judge as they lacked exposure to legal work.
He alleged that the list suffered from lack of merit as it empanelled candidates with "questionable credentials and dubious records". He alleged that one of the recommended candidates was unfamiliar for every judge of the High Court as well as the Bar, but he was on the list because he employed the daughter of a collegium member. The Petitioner-Advocate also alleged that one of the recommended candidates was an accused in a criminal case. Few of the recommended persons were never seen arguing in Court, the petitioner alleged.An advocate who was practising in Delhi High Court for 17 years was recommended merely on the basis of caste connections, the petitioner further alleged.
He alleged that there was an apparent conflict of interest in the entire process and pointed out that the collegium ended up picking 9 out of 15 names from their own castes/ communities, i.e., Bhumihar and Kayasth communities, even while 50% of the Bench strength on the date of recommendation were from these very communities. There were only 3 OBC judges out of 30 and no Dalit Judge at all on the Bench, stated the petitioner.
"Of the total 15 names, not one was from the Dalit, EBC, OBC or tribal section of the Society. The collegium was blinded by consideration of caste to such an extent that it completely disregarded the MOP and the constitutional provisions that mandate equality of opportunity and social justice", contended the petitioner.
The Petitioner lastly submitted that the impugned recommendations were in absolute contrast with the advices of the Constituent Assembly and that the selection process suffered from opaqueness.
The petitioner prayed that the Centre be directed not to give effect to the impugned recommendations
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