In what could be yet another instance of the Centre unilaterally deciding to selectively implement the recommendations of the Supreme Court collegium, the Narendra Modi government is learnt to have cleared only four of the six names of judicial officers recommended for elevation to the Delhi High Court.
The four names which have found favour with the government are Neena Bansal Krishna, Dinesh Kumar Sharma, Anoop Kumar Mendiratta and Sudhir Kumar Jain. The two judicial officers who have been dropped are Poonam A Bamba and Swarana Kanta Sharma. Mendiratta is currently Union Law Secretary and is a favourite of the current dispensation.
Sources in higher judiciary told India Ahead that warrants of appointment for the four judicial officers could be issued before the end of this week and they could be sworn in soon.
The six names were cleared by the SCC on February 1. While doing so, the SCC had also rejected candidature of two senior district and sessions judges – Yashwant Kumar and Rajiv Mehra.
Incidentally, sources said, the government had also objected to the candidature of Poonam A Bamba and Swarana Kanta Sharma, both of who had nothing adverse in so far as integrity is concerned.
However, the government cited specious grounds, which the SCC found not enough reasons to ignore the two candidates, to oppose them.
It isn’t these two judicial officers alone; the government is also continuing to drag its feet and choosing not to process the names of five lawyers – four of whose names were reiterated by the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana in November last year.
On November 11, the SCC had cleared the proposal for elevation of senior advocate Saurabh Kirpal as judge of the Delhi High Court after a lot of two and fro between the Supreme Court and the Centre.
While the Modi government had raised some concerns over Kirpal’s name, the SCC found the objections baseless and decided to recommend his name. If appointed, Kirpal could be country’s first openly gay judge.
Same day, the SCC also reiterated its earlier recommendation to elevate four advocates – Tara Vitasta Ganju, Anish Dayal, Amit Sharma and Mini Pushkarna – to the bench.
There has been little forward movement by the Centre to issue warrants of appointments of these lawyers.
It remains to be seen what reaction, if any, the Supreme Court gives to the brazen manner in which the Centre has decided to ignore its recommendations.