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February 11, 2019 05:56 AM


Govt Returns 2 Names for Elevation to HC
Names include relative of late prime minister VP Singh; names of 33 lawyers were sent to SC

New Delhi:

The Centre has returned the names of two lawyers cleared for elevation to the Allahabad High Court judgeship by the Supreme Court, with one of them being Ramendra Pratap Singh, a relative of late Prime Minister VP Singh.

Informed sources told ET that among others, an unfavourable report by the Intelligence Bureau (IB) is the reason why the law ministry returned Singh’s name to the apex court.

Last September, the Supreme Court collegium had cleared names of 17 lawyers as judges for the Allahabad High Court. These included the name of Ramendra Pratap Singh. When contacted, Singh told ET that VP Singh was his uncle.

The SC had received names of 33 lawyers recommended for elevation by the Allahabad High Court, and the names were sent by the Chief Justice of Allahabad HC on February 14, 2018, in consultation with his two senior-most colleagues (in the collegium).

In its resolution dated September 25 last, the apex court collegium headed by the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said it had considered the views of the Chief Minister and the Governor of Uttar Pradesh.

In order to ascertain the suitability of the recommended names for elevation, the SC collegium consulted its colleagues conversant with the affairs of the Allahabad High Court.

The resolution said it “carefully scrutinised the material placed in the file, including the observations made by the Department of Justice therein”. On the basis of the said material and opinion, the SC collegium cleared the names of 17 lawyers holding them “suitable” for appointment to Allahabad High Court judgeship. Regarding the remaining 16 candidates, the Collegium (September 25, 2018) had decided to defer.

It might be mentioned here that the resolution mentioned about “complaints” received against the names recommended for elevation. “We have also taken note of the complaints placed in the file as also received in the office of Chief Justice of India making allegations against some of the recommendees. On examination, we do not find any prima facie substance in these complaints, which deserve to be ignored”, the resolution read.

The Allahabad HC collegium had sent the names of 15 senior judicial officers for elevation in May 2018, taking the total number of recommendations to 48 (lawyers and judges).

The High Court has a sanctioned strength of 160 judges, against the current strength of 73.

In 2016, the Allahabad HC collegium had recommended 30 advocates for judgeship.

After complaints from the bar associations and other quarters, the then Chief Justice of India (CJI) Tirath Singh Thakur had rejected the candidature of 11. The Centre had validated the allegations through background checks.


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