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6 months after names cleared for HC judges, collegium member objects

Chandigarh : Nearly six months after the names of 11 advocates were cleared for elevation as Punjab and Haryana High Court judges, one of the collegium members is now believed to have raised objections.
Available information suggests Justice Ajay Kumar Mittal, without consulting the other collegium members, has shot off a communication to the Union Law Minister. The letter comes at a time when the Haryana government has already sent the list back to the collegium with certain objections.
The contents of the letter are not known, but it is believed that Justice Mittal has asserted some of the names, recommended by the collegium of which he was a member, do not merit appointment. It is believed to have been written when Justice Mittal was acting as the Chief after the retirement of Justice Vazifdar and before the taking over of Justice Krishna Murari.
The collegium, comprising then Chief Justice Shiavax Jal Vazifdar, Justice Mittal and Justice Surya Kant, had recommended the names for elevation after it met in November last year. Nothing is there to suggest that a dissenting note was recorded by Justice Mittal during the course of collegium meeting.
Soon after the finalisation of the recommendations, the names were forwarded to both the Punjab and Haryana governments, along with the Supreme Court, in accordance with the prescribed procedure.
Chief Justice Krishna Murari has already stated that the elevation of judges was an issue required to be gone into. But as of now he was to update himself regarding the status of recommendations. “I have to see how many recommendations have been made; and whether the same are pending,” Justice Murari said.
The advocates recommended includes the daughter of Punjab and Haryana High Court’s former judge and three law officers, including two from Punjab and one of Haryana.
The list met the Punjab government’s immediate approval, but the Haryana government kept considering the matter till it finally sent the file back for reconsideration.
The advocates recommended from Punjab Bar were Sukant Gupta, Harsimran Singh, Arun Kumar Monga, Jasdeep Singh Gill, Mansur Ali, Deepinder Singh Nalwa and Harsh Bunger.
The Haryana list included names of Justice RK Nehru’s daughter Manjari Nehru Kaul, Sanjay Vashisth, Manoj Bajaj and Sunil Kumar Singh Panwar.

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