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The Supreme Court Collegium has paved the way for the appointment of three new judges to the Jharkhand High Court and one judge to the Tripura High Court.
The Collegium has also the extended the terms of three additional judges of the Gauhati High Court – Justices Lanusungkum Jamir, Manash Ranjan Pathak and Rumi Kumari Phukan – for another year.
Advocates Rajesh Kumar, Anubha Rawat Choudhary and Kailash Prasad Deo have been deemed suitable for elevation to the Jharkhand High Court, while advocate Arindam Lodh has been given the nod for elevation to the Tripura High Court.
It is interesting to note that the Intelligence Bureau has raised questions on the professional competence of the three lawyers for elevation to the Jharkhand High Court. However, the Collegium came to the conclusion that,
“As regards comments of Intelligence Bureau about his professional competence, we are of the view that professional competence can best be determined by the members of the higher judiciary who have the opportunity to observe his performance on a daily basis… In our view, it would not be appropriate to take cognizance of any unsubstantiated information based on discreet inquiries made by the Intelligence Bureau.”
Similar questions cropped up while considering the elevation of Arindam Lodh to the Tripura High Court, against whom certain complaints were received. These allegations were found to be “unsubstantiated or factually incorrect”.
The Jharkhand High Court had recommended the elevation of four lawyers as judges. However, the Collegium saw it fit not to elevate Pankaj Kumar, given the material placed on record against him, “including the revised income criterion and his association/links with many overground front organizations”.
Similarly, the senior-most judges of the Supreme Court decided to defer the elevation of former Law Secretary Data Mohan Jamatia, pending further inputs on him.
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