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Judges oppose move to appoint Mumbai’s ITAT head as HC judge

The Delhi Judicial Service Association (DJSA) has opposed the recommendation of the High Court to appoint R V Iswar, President of Mumbai’s Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), as Additional Judge from service cadre, saying he “never held any judicial office” here.

The move of DJSA to write to the President and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on the issue assume significance as the special bench of the Delhi High Court recently dismissed the petition of a bar leader against the recommendation of its collegium to elevate Iswar as a judge.

The bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and Manmohan had justified the recommendation of the collegium, consisting five senior-most judges of High Court including Chief Justice Dipak Misra, saying Iswar’s past experience as a lawyer made him eligible for the elevation.

“It is not possible to accept the contention of the petitioner (Delhi High Court Bar Association secretary D K Sharma) that the past experience of a person as an advocate gets apportioned or washed away when an advocate is appointed as a member of a tribunal,” it had said.

The judges’ association also wrote to the Ministry of Law and Justice and Leaders of Opposition of both Houses of the Parliament, citing six reasons for opposing the recommendation to elevate Iswar.

Seeking reconsideration of the recommendation, the DJSA said, “Iswar does not fulfil eligibility criteria required for appointment of High Court Judge as prescribed in Article 217 (2) (a) of the Constitution because he has never held any judicial office in the territory of India leave aside in the state of Delhi.”

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