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Nature Of Feedback About Candidates For Judgeship Dependent On Who Is Asked : Justice Chandrachud

Srishti Ojha
18 May 2022 11:19 AM GMT
I Personally Check All The E-Mails Received By Court Master For Expeditious Listing Of Cases From AORs Each Day: Justice D Y Chandrachud
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Justice DY Chandrachud on Tuesday observed that the nature of feedback received about a candidate who is being considered for appointment as a judge is subjective and is dependent on the person who is asked.

The remark was made by Justice Chandrachud drawing on his experience presently as a member of the Supreme Court Collegium and earlier as the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court.

"I have some idea about how the process is carried out. The nature of the feedback will depend on who is asked also. Now I am part of the Collegium, I can tell you, nature of feedback you get about a candidate is also dependent on who is asked as everyone is human and there is a human element involved on all ends of the spectrum." Justice Chandrachud said.

Justice Chandrachud made the remark while addressing the Attorney General of India KK Venugopal in a matter relating to non-appointment of members to Income Tax Appellate Tribunal in terms of recommendations made by the Search cum Selection Committee.

A bench comprising Justice Chandrachud and Justice Narsimha was considering the aspect of the Central Government relying on fresh material and feedback with regard to candidates already recommended by SCSC and verified by the IB, and putting off their appointments.

The bench observed that if something comes to light about a candidate which wasn't brought to the IB's attention, there should be a process by which the IB is informed about the same.

While examining the files placed by the AG with regard to the appointments and the feedback sheets for candidates therein, Justice Chandrachud noted that in one particular case, while as per the Intelligence Bureau the candidate was competent, the Centre's inquiry mentioned that he was 'admonished by courts'

"Look at how subjective this is. We were constantly on the end of firing line when we were lawyers, we've all been part of the process. When the Court is admonishing, it is for the client and not the lawyer" Justice Chandrachud remarked.

The bench was hearing a contempt petition filed by Advocate Association Bengaluru in 2021 against the then Secretary of the Department of Legal Affairs alleging violation of the directions issued in the Madras Bar Association Case by not appointing members to the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal as per the recommendations made by the SCSC.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday disapproved the practice of the Central Government putting off the appointments of members to Tribunals despite recommendations by the Search-cum-Selection Committee (SCSC) citing new inputs about the candidates. If fresh materials come to light about the candidates cleared by the SCSC, such materials should be shared with the SCSC. Not doing so will be a deviation from fair process, the Court stated.

The bench however closed the contempt proceedings observing that it is not expedient in the interest of justice to pursue the contempt. The contempt petition has therefore been ordered to be re-numbered as an Interlocutory Application.

Case Title : Advocate Association Bengaluru versus Anoop Kumar Mendiratta Contempt Petition (Civil) No.708/2021 filed in Madras Bar Association versus Union of India WP(c) No.502/2021

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