HC lawyers up against selection of new judge

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HC lawyers up against selection of new judge

Tuesday, 15 October 2019 | PNS | CUTTACK

Protesting against the recent resolution passed by the Supreme Court Collegium endorsing a recommendation of the Orissa High Court Collegium for elevation of advocate Sanjeeb Kumar Panigrahi as a judge of the High Court, the members of the High Court Bar Association here on Monday decided to boycott the court activities.

“The general body of the association unanimously resolved to abstain from the court activities indefinitely; and on Wednesday afternoon, the general body will meet again to decide the next course of action,” informed association secretary Sanjay Kumar Das, adding that the lawyers of Cuttack city have also been requested to abstain from lower court activities.

In a memorandum submitted to the HC Chief Justice, copies of which have also been sent to the Prime Minister and the Union Law Minister, the association pointed out that Panigrahi has a very limited practice in the High Court and his elevation to the Bench of the court is contrary to the Constitutional provisions of HC Judges’ appointments.

Notably, the Orissa High Court Collegium in May this year had recommended the names of four judicial officers and seven advocates for their elevation as HC Judges. The SC Collegium on October 3, however, endorsed only the appointments of advocate Panigrahi and judicial officer Bibhu Prasad Routray and remitted back the other recommendations.

As the High Court opened on Monday after a fortnight-long Puja vacation, the lawyers met to vent their ire against the appointment of Panigrahi, who resides in New Delhi. The lawyers also condemned the collegiums system of appointment of judges and resolved to initiate a nationwide debate on introduction of a National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) for the purpose.

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