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The Supreme Court Collegium on Thursday passed two resolutions recommending the appointment of 12 advocates as judges of the Karnataka High Court.
By one resolution, the Collegium has stood by a recommendation initially made in March this year to elevate the following advocates to the Karnataka High Court, i.e.
These four names were recommended by the Collegium along with the names of four others. However, the names of the above named nominees were returned by the Central Government.
The October 3 resolution of the Collegium reveals that the names of Savanur Vishwajith Shetty and Maralur Indrakumar Arun were returned citing certain complaints received.
As against the proposed elevation of Savanur Vishwajith Shetty, the Government has cited a report that he is “having nexus with underworld and land mafia which indulged in extortion.” With respect to Maralur Indrakumar Arun, the Government is stated to have received complaints that “he does not have a clean and transparent professional career and indulges in corrupt practices.”
However, the Collegium appears to be have been unconvinced of the merits of these complaints. In both cases, the Collegium opines,
“The allegations in the complaint have not been verified at any level at any point of time. Besides, Intelligence Bureau in its report has, inter alia, recorded that he [nominee] enjoys good personal and professional image and nothing adverse came to notice against his integrity. Besides, all the consultee – Judges have found him suitable for elevation. In view of above, the Collegium is inclined to take the view that the allegations in the complaint dated Nil on the basis of which his name has been sent back for reconsideration are not tenable. The Collegium, therefore, resolves to reiterate its recommendation dated 25th March, 2019 for elevation…”
The Collegium also rejects the Government’s cited reason of “limited practice in the High Court” to return the proposal to elevate Mohammed Ghouse Shukure Kamal.
“As per record, his average professional income is Rs.16.89 lakhs“, notes the October 3 resolution, before pointing out that he enjoys good personal and professional image and nothing adverse came to notice against his integrity.
As far as the proposal to elevate Engalaguppe Seetharamaiah Indiresh is concerned, the Collegium resolution does not reveal clear reasons why the file was returned. All the same, the Collegium clarifies that it is certain of its earlier proposal to elevate the advocate. In this regard, the resolution states,
“The basis on which the Government has sent back the name of Shri Engalaguppe Seetharamaiah Indiresh for reconsideration to the Collegium is apparently not tenable.”
The Collegium resolution further adds,
“Having regard to acute shortage of Judges in Karnataka High Court it would be appropriate if the above proposal is processed expeditiously.“
By a separate resolution issued the same day, the Collegium has also recommended the elevation of eight more lawyers as judges to the Karnataka High Court. The advocates so proposed to be elevated are,
However, the name of one other lawyer, Tarikere Sathyanarayana Venkatesh, was remitted by the Collegium to the High Court, having regard to the material on record and all relevant factors.
Last year, lawyers in Bangalore went on a hunger strike to protest the number of vacancies at the High Court.
[Read the Resolution reiterating the Supreme Court Collegium passed in March 2019 to elevate 4 advocates to the Karnataka HC]
[Read the Collegium Resolution recommending the elevation of 8 advocates to the Karnataka HC]