In the backdrop of the Supreme Court collegium turning down the Punjab and Haryana high court’s recommendations on the elevation of advocates to judgeship, Hindustan Times’ senior reporter Sanjeev Verma spoke with high court chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul on Friday.
Your view on the rejection of 15 advocates’ names for judgeship by the Supreme Court collegium in the past two years?
The high court collegium would have sent those names after applying all its wisdom and if the Supreme Court has not found them worthy, what can I say in it?
Don’t you think it is an embarrassment for the HC collegium?
The HC collegium recommends names after consulting brother judges, senior and responsible bar members and advocates concerned. But after that, the Supreme Court collegium has the benefit of inputs from the intelligence bureau and sitting judges of the apex court who have earlier served in this high court. But nobody knows why the names were rejected. There may be a reason that the advocate is competent to become a good judge but is younger and may be considered later.
(Sanjay Kishan Kaul, chief justice, Punjab and Haryana high court)
Why can’t the HC collegium invite names from the HC Bar association, say three times the number of vacancies, and recommend names out of them?
The process of recommending names for judgeship is tedious. Whatever you do, you can’t satisfy everybody. The collegium does seek inputs from senior Bar members but not from the Bar association.
Since the apex court has asked you to reconsider two names, and the strength of judges is less than what is sanctioned, what is your take?
I haven’t received any official communication yet. I am new here and trying to get inputs from across the board. Best talent would be recommended after ascertaining legal experience, ethical conduct and integrity.
Why are the recommended names mostly judges’ juniors or kin?
I agree that nobody should be appointed just because he is a judge’s son or junior, but at the same time such candidates are tested at a higher platform than other advocates.
Why should uncle judges not be transferred to other high courts?
There should be no such bar. But judges should not misuse their position. Everyone should be treated equally. Juniors and kin should not appear before known judges.