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SC Collegium Recommends Names Of 4 Advocates As Judges Of High Courts

The Supreme Court Collegium proposed the names for the appointment of judges at the Bombay High Court, the Karnataka High Court, and the Madras High Court.

SC collegium held deliberations on February 1
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The Supreme Court Collegium on Tuesday recommended the names of four advocates for appointment as judges of different high courts. The Collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, proposed the name of advocate Manjusha Ajay Deshpande for appointment as a judge of the Bombay High Court, advocate Kurubarahalli Venkataramareddy Aravind as a judge of the Karnataka High Court and advocates N Senthilkumar and G Arul Murugan for appointment as judges of the Madras High Court.

It said 52-year-old Senthilkumar, who belongs to a Scheduled Caste, has a standing of over 28 years at the Bar and his appointment as a judge of the high court will enhance the representation of marginalised communities on the Bench. The Collegium also said the appointment of Murugan will facilitate greater representation of the OBCs in the higher judiciary.

The SC collegium stated that the high court collegium presided over by the then chief justice of the Bombay High Court on September 26, 2022, recommended the elevation of Deshpande.

"The chief ministers and the governors of the states of Maharashtra and Goa have concurred in the recommendation. On May 2, 2023, the Supreme Court Collegium deferred its decision on the recommendation and decided to seek a report of the acting chief justice of the High Court of Bombay in view of the issues which were flagged by the government in the file.

"In terms of the Memorandum of Procedure, judges of the Supreme Court conversant with the affairs of the High Court of Bombay were consulted to ascertain the fitness and suitability of the candidate proposed for elevation to the High Court," the Collegium said.

The Collegium, also comprising justices S K Kaul and Sanjiv Khanna, said it scrutinised and evaluated the material which has been placed on record for the purpose of assessing the merit and suitability of Deshpande for elevation to the high court.

"By a communication dated May 10, 2023, the acting chief justice submitted a report. The report indicates that before doing so, the acting chief justice discussed the matter with his colleagues at the Aurangabad Bench of the High Court. "We have considered the inputs provided by the government in the file," it added. The Collegium said in its assessment, it has found that Deshpande is a competent lawyer and has been in practice since 1991.

"The candidate is well versed in several branches of law, particularly in constitutional and service matters. She has been on the panel of the government since 2013. The elevation of the candidate would add to the representation of women on the Bench of the High Court of Bombay particularly amongst women lawyers practising before the Bench at Aurangabad," it said.

Regarding advocate Kurubarahalli Venkataramareddy Aravind, the Collegium said the inputs in the file indicate nothing adverse to his integrity or character. "The candidate has a standing of nearly 23 years at the Bar. He has appeared before the high court as standing counsel for various departments of the state government. He has appeared in cases resulting in 567 reported judgments.

"This, coupled with his average professional income is an indicator of his experience. There is a considerable amount of tax litigation before the Karnataka High Court. There is a need for specialised judges having domain experience in this branch of law," it said. The collegium said Kurubarahalli Venkataramareddy Aravind is fit and suitable for appointment as a Judge of the High Court of Karnataka.

On the names of advocates N Senthilkumar and G Arul Murugan, it said their names were recommended for appointment by the collegium of the Madras High Court on August 3, 2022.

"By a communication dated June 27, 2023, the chief justice of the Madras High Court has forwarded the minutes of the High Court collegium in regard to the suitability of the two candidates. In terms of the Memorandum of Procedure, the judges of the Supreme Court conversant with the affairs of the Madras High Court were consulted to ascertain the fitness and suitability of the two candidates," it said.

The Collegium said Senthilkumar has a standing of over 28 years at the Bar and has been practising in constitutional, criminal, service and civil cases. "The candidate belongs to a Scheduled Caste. His appointment as a judge of the high court will enhance the representation on the Bench to marginalised communities.

Having regard to the above factors, the Collegium is of the considered opinion that Shri N Senthilkumar is suitable for elevation to the Madras High Court," it said. On Murugan, the Collegium said he has an experience of over 24 years at the Bar and has appeared before the Madras High Court and various tribunals.

"The candidate belongs to the OBC category. His appointment as a judge will facilitate greater representation of the OBCs in appointment to the higher judiciary. Having regard to the above aspects, the Collegium is of the considered opinion that Shri G Arul Murugan is suitable for the elevation to the Madras High Court," the collegium said.

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