Lawyers’ body protests SCBA statement regarding proposal to elevate Supreme Court layers as HC judges

The All India Lawyers’ Union (AILU) on Sunday, through a statement addressed to the Chief Justice of India (CJI), has expressed its reservation against the reported move for elevation of advocates practising in the Supreme Court as judges of High Courts.

The statement says that: “AILU notices with great concern and consternation the reported statement of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) that the CJI has agreed to the request made by the SCBA to consider elevation of Supreme Court lawyers as judges of High Courts and requested Chief Justices of High Courts to consider lawyers practising in the Supreme Court for elevation to their High Courts.”

The statement adds: “It is also reported that the SCBA has already constituted a ‘Search Committee’ for identifying and selecting suitable candidates from the Supreme Court Bar.”

It has been alleged that “it would cause far reaching negative consequences, impacting the independence of judiciary and its transparency, and would lead to substitution of the opinion of the High Court Collegium by that of the Supreme Court Collegium, in violation of Article 217 of the Constitution and Constitution Benches decisions of the Supreme Court of India with respect to appointment of judges of High Courts. It militates against the federal principles, the autonomy of the High Courts and the Constitutional norms, in this regard.”

The statement, signed by AILU’s President and Member of Parliament Bikas Ranjan Bhattacharya and General Secretary P.V. Surendranath, has also stated that so far, no opportunity is conceded to the Bar Associations of the High Courts to constitute any “Search Committee” to identify eligible suitable candidates from the Bar and to propose names to the Chief Justices of the High Courts for elevation as judges of the High Courts. The proposal of “Search Committee” and to institutionalize such appointments may lead to unhealthy and disastrous consequences.

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“We, as a responsible organization of lawyers concerned with independent and accountable judiciary and a strong Bar, respectfully appeal that this sort of seminal issues may not be decided without affording sufficient opportunity for a thorough democratic and informed debate among all the stakeholders including the Bar Associations of the High Courts. All India Lawyers Union ( AILU ) urges upon Honourable Chief Justice of India to reject the proposal of SCBA and may be kind enough to withdraw instructions , if any given to Honorable Chief Justices of the High Courts in favour of the proposal of the SCBA , in this regard”, reads the statement.

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