Collegium clears 4 names for HC judges despite objections

Armed with Intelligence Bureau reports, the Supreme Court collegium, comprising the top three judges of the Supreme Court, passed a resolution clearing the appointment of the advocates.
The Supreme Court collegium on Friday brushed aside the government objections against four Karnataka advocates and cleared their names for appointment as judges of the Karnataka High court.(Amal KS / Hindustan Times)
The Supreme Court collegium on Friday brushed aside the government objections against four Karnataka advocates and cleared their names for appointment as judges of the Karnataka High court.(Amal KS / Hindustan Times)
Updated on Oct 05, 2019 02:16 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByAshok Bagriya

The Supreme Court collegium on Friday brushed aside the government objections -- variously, alleged underworld links, extortion, corruption and inexperience -- against four Karnataka advocates and cleared their names for appointment as judges of the Karnataka High court.

Armed with Intelligence Bureau reports, the Supreme Court collegium, comprising the top three judges of the Supreme Court, passed a resolution clearing the appointment of advocates Savanur Vishwajith Shetty, Maralur Indrakumar Arun, Mohammed Ghouse Shukure Kamal, and Engalaguppe Seetharamaiah Indiresh as judges of the Karnataka high court.

With the collegium doing this, the government has no option but to clear the names, although there is no time limit for doing so. Under the current selection process, the government can voice its objections once and ask the collegium to reconsider.

The Supreme Court Collegium on March 25 approved the names of eight advocates recommended by the High Court Collegium on 25 May, 2018 for appointment as judges to the high court and forwarded the name to the government.

But the Department of Justice under the Law Ministry, returned the names of four advocates to the collegium for reconsideration, citing complaints against them -- of corruption, underworld nexus, extortion and inadequate practice in the high court as reasons.

As regards advocate Savanur Vishwajith Shetty, the department of justice said: “There is a complaint against Shri Savanur Vishwajith Shetty that he is having nexus with underworld and land mafia which indulged in extortion.” Shetty could not be reached for a comment.

Advocate Maralur Indrakumar Arun’s name was sent back saying: “There is a complaint against Shri Maralur Indrakumar Arun stating that he does not have a clean and transparent professional career and indulges in corrupt practices.”

Advocate M I Arun declined comment.

In the case of advocate Mohammed Ghouse Shukure Kamal, the observation was: “Shri Mohammed Ghouse Shukure Kamal has limited practice in the High Court.”

And advocate Engalaguppe Seetharamaiah Indiresh name was held back because he was he is one of the parties to some disputes in the hight court.

Hindustan Times has seen a copy of the government’s observations.

On receiving the recommendations from the government, the Supreme Court collegium perused the complaints and found they “have not been verified at any level at any point of time.”

Besides, “Intelligence Bureau in its report has, inter alia, recorded that the advocates enjoy good personal and professional image and nothing adverse came to notice against them,” added the Collegium’s resolution uploaded on the Supreme Court of India’s website.

The collegium has also advised the government that,”Having regard to acute shortage of Judges in Karnataka High Court it would be appropriate if the above proposal is processed expeditiously.”

Supreme Court advocate Chitranshul Sinha said, “This instance exposes serious loopholes in the government’s verification process for appointments to constitutional positions. When recommendation for HC judgeship is made, it is made after careful vetting at multiple stages about the antecedents of the lawyers. Now, if the Centre sends its reports so casually, questions will be raised against the government verification process.”

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Friday, December 03, 2021