Thursday, January 9, 2014

New judges list gets stuck in legal quagmire; Madras HC restrains Centre from processing it

A Subramani,TNN | Jan 8, 2014, 10.46 PM IST

CHENNAI: A list of 12 names recommended by the collegium of the Madras high court for appointment ad additional judges of the court got mired in legal tangle, with a division bench of the court directing the Centre to maintain status quoon the matter. 

A division bench of Justice V Dhanapalan and Justice K K Sasidharan granted the interim order, on a PIL filed by senior advocate R Gandhi. On Wednesday his counsel S Prabakaran argued that the list had been prepared without due consultation and it under-represented certain sections of the society while giving undue over-representation to some other communities.
Earlier, a sitting judge of the Madras high court created a flutter among the legal fraternity when he appeared in person before the special bench hearing the PIL and said the choice of names for appointment as new judges was not fair.
In an unprecedented cameo, which lasted barely two minutes, Justice C S Karnan walked into a jam-packed court of Justice V Dhanapalan and Justice K K Sasidharan, and said: "This selection is not fair. I will file an affidavit against it in my own name. I am also part of the judiciary. Please note it down."
Even before the two judges could barely comprehend as to what was happening, justice Karnan walked off the court.
In the 60-judge court a total of 13 posts are vacant and the high court collegium has already recommended 12 names for appointments additional judges. The choice of names has triggered widespread condemnation among lawyers, and the Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) had announced one-day court boycott on Wednesday. In fact the new judges case was the only proceedings permitted by advocates to be connected in the court on Wednesday.
Ironically, the Karnan incident unfolded barely moments after Justice Dhanapalan expressed his anger over the conduct of advocates who had allegedly barged into his court and raised slogans in the morning. Even as he was condemning the conduct of some members of the MHAA, one young lawyer interrupted him and said the entire judiciary kept quiet when police entered court rooms and attacked advocates and judges on February 19, 2009.
When the judge asked what his name was, the advocate replied: "My name is U Rajarajan. Are you threatening to initiate contempt of court proceedings against me?" The advocate was then led out by his colleagues.
These two incidents, though unrelated to each other, created a buzz among lawyers, more so as they came on a boycott day. Arguments on the PIL against the list of names, on the ground that there was no consultation before the selection, continued nevertheless.

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