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Names of eight advocates recommended for elevation as Orissa high court judges returned

Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi has said that only advocates with a good high court practice be considered for elevation as it improves the quality of judges in the higher judiciary.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2018 00:05 IST
Supreme Court,Orissa high court,Chief justice
Chief Justice of India Justice Ranjan Gogoi has said that only advocates with a good high court practice be considered for elevation as it improves the quality of judges in the higher judiciary. (AP)

The Supreme Court collegium has sent back names of all eight advocates recommended for elevation as judges to the Orissa High Court – five of them because they did not meet the minimum “annual professional income” criterion that Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi has been insisting on since taking over last month.

Gogoi mentioned the ‘income criterion’ in his video interaction with high court chief justices soon after coming into office, and sent back another recommendation to the Keralahigh court on similar grounds last month. He said in the video conference that only advocates with a good high court practice be considered for elevation as it improves the quality of judges in the higher judiciary.

According to a decision taken by the collegium comprising the top three judges of the Supreme Court – CJI Gogoi and justices Madan Lokur and Kurien Joseph – uploaded on the court’s website, the reason for sending the file back was “the average net professional annual income for the preceding five years being less than the prescribed income limit applicable in case of Bar members”.

The eight advocates recommended for elevation were Rudra Prasad Kar, Pranaya Kishore Harichandan, Kali Prasanna Mishra, Bimbisar Dash, Narasingh V, Tushar Kanti Satapathy, Bishnu Prasad Pradhan and Sameer Kumar Das. The recommendations were made by the then chief justice of the Orissa High Court on May 18, 2018.

The five who were found not to meet the income criterion were Kar, Dash, Satapathy, Pradhan and Das.

The collegium’s order recorded that “we have carefully scrutinised the material placed on record, including certain complaints against some of the recommendees and the observations made by the Department of Justice in the file. Apart from this, we invited three of the above-named recommendees with a view to have an interaction with them. On the basis of interaction and/or having regard to all relevant factors, the Collegium is of the considered view that... [the proposal] be remitted to the Orissa High Court since he does not qualify the existing norms, his average net professional annual income for the preceding five years being less than the prescribed income limit applicable in case of Bar members”.

Even though there is no fixed ‘income parameter’ for elevation of an advocate as a judge, it is unofficially fixed at around ~10 lakh per annum, according to an official in the justice department of the law ministry who asked not to be named.

“It is generally expected that an advocate who is recommended for elevation needs to at least have an annual income of ~10 lakh and he is expected to submit professional income for the last five years while submitting his application for consideration as a judge,” said an official. Besides the income criteria, the Supreme Court collegium takes into account the age, academic attainment, standing and experience, ability to deal with complex legal problems, grasping capacity, judicial potential and other abilities, before confirming the candidates as judges.

Recently, the Supreme Court collegium also started the practice of personal interaction with the potential candidates before giving a final clearance to the names of the advocates to be elevated as judges.

First Published: Nov 06, 2018 00:05 IST