Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India
Litigation News

Seven UP judicial officers move SC seeking reconsideration for appointment to Allahabad High Court; SC issues notice

The petitioners submit that their names were recommended by the High Court collegium, but not considered by the Supreme Court collegium which only recommended Judge Subhash Chand, who is from the same batch.

Debayan Roy

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice of India, SA Bobde has issued notice to the Secretary General of the Supreme Court and the Centre on a plea by seven district judges of Uttar Pradesh challenging the decision to not include their names as part of the Supreme Court Collegium's recommendation dated August 14, 2020, for appointment of Judges of the Allahabad High Court.

The petition filed through Advocate on record, Aruna Gupta, states that though their names were recommended by the High Court collegium, they were not considered by the Supreme Court collegium. It is further stated that only District and Sessions Judge, Subhash Chand was considered for elevation.

Contesting the same, the petitioners note that their appointment was not considered stating that they had not completed "10 years" of holding judicial office.

However the plea avers that all the petitioners are from the same batch of the Uttar Pradesh Higher Judicial Services as that of Subhash Chand.

It is further submitted that Chand joined the Judicial Service in December 2011 or in January, 2012 as an Advocate after resigning from the UP Nyayik Sewa.

Therefore the plea states that there was a gap or a "break" in Chand's judicial service and that his services at the UP Nyayik Sewa cannot be included for the purpose of computing the period of 10 years of holding of a judicial office, as provided under Article 217 (2) (a) of Constitution of India.

The petitioners have also cited the huge pendency of cases at the High Court and how more judges are needed to tackle the case pendency. To buttress this, the plea cites a Bombay High Court case whereby 3 judicial officers who had crossed the prescribed age limit of 58.5 years of age had been appointed as Judges to meet the huge pendency of cases.

The petitioners also make a case that their appointments were made retrospectively with effect from January 2007 and the same has been upheld by both the Allahabad High Court as well as the Supreme Court in a subsequent order in Srikant Tripathi's case.

Notably, two district judges who were part of the same batch as the petitioner-judges have retired in 2019. In this regard, the petition also argues,

"There is no nexus to the object sought to be achieved by introducing the age restriction in regard to recommendation for appointment as High Court Judge from the judicial service cadre and it is also not mandatory, as several times so many judicial officers have been appointed as Judge of various High Courts even after their retirement."

Petition

The petitioners have now prayed for the Court to direct that they also be considered for elevation as Allahabad High Court, particularly since they were also appointed to the judicial services with effect from 2007 in the same batch as Judge Subhash Chand (who has been recommended on August 14).

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