January 12, 2017 1:58 PM
The collegium system for the appointment of judges in the country has been marred by a string of controversies.
The collegium system for the appointment of judges in the country has been marred by a string of controversies. A fresh case of disagreement has come to the fore as a move by a collegium of judges headed by Karnataka Chief Justice S K Mukherjee to recommend elevation of nine advocates from the Bar in Karnataka to the High Court as judges was protested by a group of lawyers who have written to the Chief Justice of India, the Prime Minister, the Law Minister and others against the choice of new judges, according to The Indian Express.
A possible caste angle behind the controversy has emerged. It has been learned that the protesting advocates, under the umbrella of the Karnataka SC/ST Backward Classes and Minorities Advocates Federation, have asked the Chief Justice of India Justice J S Khehar to reject the nine advocates chosen by the collegium in Karnataka since six of the advocates belong to the same community as Justice Mukherjee and two out of the three others are sons of retired High Court judges.
The federation has alleged that this is a case of “casteism, lobbying, personal influence and perpetuation of hereditary culture in the judiciary” with “merit nowhere to be seen”.The federation has also sought the transfer of the incumbent Karnataka Chief Justice S K Mukherjee to Uttarakhand which has been pending for the last eight months, according to The Indian Express.
Out of the 30 judges in the Karnataka High Court at present, three judges are from the Brahmin community and the clearance of the names from the bar will heavily tilt the proportion of judges in favour of the community, the federation stated.
The approved number of judges positions in the Karnataka High Court are 62, but as many as 32 remain vacant.
At the time, as many as 18 names had been recommended by the Karnataka collegium headed by Justice Mukherjee — eight from the district judges category and 10 from the Bar.