The Bar is alleging that the list is heavily loaded in favour of some communities, particularly the Brahmins.
Picture for representational purpose only.
Even as the court corridors tensed up by the lawyers’ agitation, the two judges hearing a related petition from senior lawyer R. Gandhi seeking recall of the ‘list’ sent to the Supreme Court recused themselves on Tuesday.
This followed a ‘memo’ presented by S. Prabakaran, counsel for R. Gandhi, seeking change of bench because one of the judges on the present bench, Justice P. N. Prakash is a Brahmin and the other judge S. Rajeswaran’s junior is on the ‘list’. Now R. Gandhi’s petition is likely to come up before another bench shortly.
Meanwhile, the Madras high court advocates’ association (MHAA) held an ‘extraordinary’ general body meeting in the court complex and took the decision to boycott all courts on Wednesday.
The association demanded the “immediate dropping/withdrawal” of the list said to have been sent by the high court (to the Supreme Court) for appointing as judges of the high court, according to its president R. C. Paul Kanagaraj.
Sloganeering lawyers storm into CJ office
J. Stalin | DC
Chennai; A group of about 50 lawyers, mostly left-oriented, on Tuesday stormed into the office of the chief justice and demanded that the ‘list of 12’ sent by the high court to the Supreme Court for appointment as judges be recalled as it lacked transparency.
They also raised slogans protesting that Brahmins dominated the ‘list’ while some other castes were not represented despite there being talented lawyers among them.
Spokesmen for the demonstrators, lawyers C Vijayakumar and K Muthuramalingam told reporters that the CJ told four among the group, who were allowed in to meet him, that he would look into the demand.
“He also told us that the list was prepared by not only the collegium (comprising three senior-most judges including CJ) but was also discussed with seven other senior judges before being finalised”, Vijayakumar said.
Earlier, the MHAA in its ‘extraordinary GB’ session demanded that the process of selection of lawyers for elevation as judges “be done afresh by following the principles laid down by the Apex Court with all transparency by disclosing the names proposed to the Bar and after consulting the Bar in order to avoid later comments and complications”.
Also, the association wanted two Tamil-knowing judges be included in the collegium that recommends names for elevation as high court judges—in the present collegium, the chief justice and the second senior-most judge are from outside Tamil Nadu and only Justice Chitra Venkataraman, the third senior-most judge is a Tamil.
Association president R C Paul Kanagaraj said the lawyers also demanded that only persons of good ability and character, besides creditable court practice, should hereafter be considered for elevation as judges.
Also, due representation should be given to all communities “in consonance with the principles of social justice and basic objectives of the Constitution of India”.