The Central government on Monday cleared the names of ten persons to be elevated to the High Courts of Delhi and Gauhati. This development was brought about after the Supreme Court had threatened to summon bureaucrats from the Prime Minister’s Office.
According to sources, the names have been sent to President Pranab Mukherjee for his assent. Five of them, who are in line to be elevated to Delhi High Court, are Anu Malhotra, Yogesh Khanna, AK Chawla, Vinod Goel and Chandra Shekhar. All of them are from the judiciary. Vinod Goel is the Registrar General of Delhi High Court while Chandra Shekhar is Registrar (Vigilance) of the Delhi High Court.
According to Times of India, the Law Ministry has also sent the names of eight advocates to the Supreme Court Collegium to be considered for elevation to Delhi High Court.
The judges, who are to be elevated to the Gauhati High Court, are from the Bar as well as the state judicial service. The names that are being circulated include Ajit Barthkur who is a district judge, Nelson Sailo, a Senior Advocate from Mizoram and advocates Kalyan Surana and PK Deka.
The appointments come just days after a strong nudge from the Supreme Court.
A three-judge bench presided over by the Chief Justice TS Thakur had on Friday expressed anguish over the delay caused in the appointment process.
“You cannot bring the entire institution to a grinding halt. Court rooms are locked down. Do you want to lock down the judiciary?”, he had remarked.
As reported by Indian Express, out of the five names for elevation to Delhi High Court, the government had expressed objections regarding two. In one case, the government had cited an adverse report by the Intelligence Bureau (IB). However, the Collegium had overruled the IB report, telling the Law Ministry that its own inquiry found nothing substantially adverse against the concerned district judge.
In the second case, the government had objected to the name of a judicial officer, whose elevation had been stalled by the Delhi High Court in November 2014 pending an inquiry. After the inquiry got over, CJI Thakur had written to the Law Minister to revive the file of that judge but the government had cited procedural infirmities and requested for a verification by the IB.
The names were proposed to the Centre almost 11 months back in January and no progress had been made so far. With the case in the Supreme Court listed for hearing on November 11, the Centre, it would appear, does want to make some headway before that.