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NEW DELHI: The professional competence of an advocate under consideration for judgeship can best be determined by the members of the higher judiciary and not the Intelligence Bureau (IB), the Supreme Court collegium has said while refusing to rely on the IB’s comments on the competence of four lawyers it has recommended for appointment as HC judges.
The collegium, comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices J Chelameswar and Ranjan Gogoi, has cleared the names of the four, and sent the recommendation to the Centre for their appointment as judges in the Jharkhand and Tripura high courts.
The IB files a report on three aspects of a lawyer who is to be considered for judgeship — professional competence, integrity and social standing. But the collegium said, “As regards comments of the 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, which has the opportunity to observe his performance on a daily basis.”
The collegium’s decision, which has been uploaded on the SC website, says it has recommend advocates Rajesh Kumar, Anubha Rawat Choudhary and Kailash Prasad Deo for appointment as judges in the Jharkhand high court, and Arindam Lodh for appointment in the Tripura high court.
It, however, found advocate Pankaj Kumar not suitable for elevation as a judge in the Jharkhand HC and said, “Having regard to the material placed on record, including the revised income criterion and his association/links with many overground front organisations, he is not found suitable for elevation.”
It has recommended that Justices Lanusungkum Jamir and Manash Ranjan Pathak of the Gauhati HC be appointed as additional judges for a fresh term of one year.