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Professional Competence Of Candidates For Judgeship Can Be Best Tested By Judiciary, Not By The IB: Collegium

3 Nov 2017 12:21 PM GMT

The Collegium has recommended three names for the elevation to the Jharkhand High Court and one name for Tripura High Court

The Three member Collegium has made it clear that professional competence, of candidates for appointment as Judges, can best be determined by the members of the higher judiciary who have the opportunity to observe his performance on a daily basis, and not by the Intelligence Bureau [IB].

The Three member Collegium comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justices Jasti Chelameswar and Ranjan Gogoi has discarded the adverse IB reports and recommended the names of three lawyers namely (1) Rajesh Kumar, (2) Mrs. Anubha Rawat Choudhary, and (3) Kailash Prasad Deo, for elevation to Jharkahnd High Court.

Four names were recommended by the Collegium of the Jharkhand High Court on 1st September, 2016. The recommendation had the concurrence of the Chief Minister and the Governor for the State of Jharkhand. The Collegium has found that one Shri Pankaj Kumar was not suitable for elevation, having regard to the material placed on record, including the revised income criterion and his association / links with many over ground front organizations.

In all the other three cases, the consulting colleagues (of Collegium) found them as suitable for elevation. Interestingly the IB has filed adverse reports against other three nominees regarding their integrity and professional competence. Rejecting the IB reports the Collegium observed;

“As regards comments of Intelligence Bureau about professional competence of Shri Rajesh Kumar, we are of the view that professional competence can best be determined by the members of the higher judiciary who have the opportunity to observe his performance on a daily basis. As regards comments touching upon his integrity, the same are qualified by Intelligence Bureau’s own statement that “there is nothing on record”. In our view, it would not be appropriate to take cognizance of any unsubstantiated information based on discreet inquiries made by the Intelligence Bureau”.

 Similar observations were made by the collegium about the other two candidates.

Finally the Collegium resolved to recommend that S/Shri (1) Rajesh Kumar, (2) Mrs. Anubha Rawat Choudhary, and (3) Kailash Prasad Deo, Advocates, be appointed as Judges of the Jharkhand High Court.

Tripura High Court

 The Collegium has considered two names for elevation to the Tripura High Court and resolved as follows;

“Considering the material on record and the views of our consultee-colleague, the Collegium finds Shri Arindam Lodh, Advocate suitable for elevation to the High Court Bench.

As regards Shri Data Mohan Jamatia, Judicial Officer, consideration of the proposal for his elevation is deferred for the present, as further inputs relating to him are awaited by the Collegium.

 In view of the above, the Collegium resolves to recommend that Shri Arindam Lodh, Advocate be appointed as a Judge of the Tripura High Court”.

 Gauhati High Court

The Collegium of the Gauhati High Court recommended the names of three Additional Judges for appointment as Permanent Judges of that High Court. But the Collegium has resolved it as follows;

“In order to ascertain suitability of the above-named recommendees for being appointed as Permanent Judges, we have consulted our colleagues who are conversant with the affairs of the Gauhati High Court. Two of the consultee-colleagues have suggested that their overall performance ought to be observed further. Copies of letters of their opinion received in this regard are placed below.

 Having taken note of the views of our consultee-Judges and the report of the Committee constituted by the Chief Justice of India in terms of recent resolution passed by the Supreme Court Collegium on 26th October, 2017 (copy placed below), the Collegium resolves to recommend that for the present:

 (i) S/Shri Justices (1) Lanusungkum Jamir, and (2) Manash Ranjan Pathak, be appointed as Additional Judges for a fresh term of one year w.e.f. 22.11.2017; and

 (ii) Smt. Justice Rumi Kumari Phukan, be appointed as Additional Judge for a fresh term of one year w.e.f. 07.01.2018”

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