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SC notice to Himachal HC on plea of two district judges questioning HC collegium picks

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New Delhi, May 13 (PTI) The Supreme Court on Monday sought a response from the registrar general of the Himachal Pradesh High Court on a plea of two senior most district and sessions judges alleging that their merit and seniority were not considered by the high court collegium in selection of names for HC judgeship.

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A bench comprising justices Hrishikesh Roy and Prashant Kumar Mishra took note of the submissions of senior advocate Arvind Datar, appearing for the two district and sessions judges, that the judicial officers, who are junior to them, had been recommended for the high court judgeship under the in-service quota.

The petition was filed by Chirag Bhanu Singh and Arvind Malhotra, who are presently serving as the district and sessions judges at Bilaspur and Solan, respectively in the state, alleging non-consideration of their names by the high court collegium for the judgeship.

The senior lawyer referred to a collegium resolution of January 4, 2024 of the apex court and the subsequent communication of the Union Ministry of Law and Justice to the Himachal Pradesh High Court and said that as per these, the names of the petitioner judicial officers should have been considered by the high court collegium.

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"The petitioners are the senior most judicial officers in the state and they have unblemished records," Datar said.

The plea questioned the selection process of the judicial officers by the high court collegiums for elevation to as HC judges and said their merit and seniority were ignored despite the issue being specifically referred to in the apex court collegium’s resolution.

The plea said the apex court collegium's decision to send their names for reconsideration by the HC collegiums was followed by a communication from Union law minister to the Chief Justice of the high court urging him to reconsider the names of the petitioner judicial officers.

It alleged that the high court collegiums did not consider these and proceeded to deliberate upon names of other judicial officers. PTI SJK SJK KVK KVK

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