CJI has already directed Union law ministry to clear former senior AAG Nargal’s case
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz SRINAGAR: Registrar General of the Supreme Court has invited four Jammu and Kashmir-based advocates for necessary interaction with the Supreme Court collegium in the last leg of the process to fill up eight vacancies of judges in Jammu and Kashmir High Court (JKHC). STATE TIMES learned from highly placed authoritative sources that the Supreme Court collegium, headed by the outgoing Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, would be interacting with the four advocates-Javed Iqbal Wani, Moksha Kazmi, Rahul Bharti and Rajnish Oswal-in New Delhi on Tuesday, 15 October. Two of the advocates confirmed that they had been called for an interaction with the Supreme Court collegium. The interaction would be part of the process to fill up eight vacancies of judges in JKHC. The JKHC collegium, headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal, had recommended Srinagar-based Wani and Kazmi and Jammu-based Bharti and Oswal in March this year to fill up four of the five vacancies in the Bar quota. Sources said that all the four names were cleared by the Governor’s administration, union Ministry of Law and Justice and union Ministry of Home Affairs before they were recommended to the Supreme Court of India collegium. Of the recommendations made in 2017, advocate and then Assistant Solicitor General of India in J&K Sindhu Sharma and retired Principal District and Sessions Judge Srinagar, Rashid Ali Dar, were inducted as judges in JKHC in August 2018. Jammu-based former Senior Additional Advocate General (AAG) Waseem Sadiq Nargal was also cleared by the Supreme Court collegium. However, the Union Ministry of Law and Justice subsequently sent his case for reconsideration and the SC collegium in January 2019 had sought reasons for sending his case for reconsideration inspite of the fact that he was cleared by the Supreme Court collegium in April 2018 and no reasons were given by the Union law ministry for not appointing Nargal as Judge of the High Court and resending his case inspite of more than nine months have past since the Supreme Court collegium has sought reasons from the Law ministry, the file has not been send back by the Union Law Ministry to the SC collegium.
Even the Chief Justice of India has sent a communication to the Union Law Ministry to clear his case which is pending for the last more than nine months since the SC collegium has sought reasons, till date the reasons have not been assigned and Nargal’s file has not been sent back to the SC collegium.
The case of Waseem Nargal is pending for the last more than two years when the state collegium had recommended his case on August 2017 and he was cleared by the SC collegium in April 2018. And yet was not appointed by the government inspite of clearance by the Union Law Ministry and his case was rather sent for reconsideration to the SC collegium without any reason and that is why the SC collegium in January 2019 had asked the Law department to give comments that why Nargal’s case was sent for reconsideration inspite of he being cleared.
The CJI had even asked Union Law Ministry to clear 43 names as High Court Judges including pending case of former senior AAG Wasim Sadiq Nargal from J&K.
Including Nargal, five advocates are currently under consideration of the Supreme Court collegium to fill up equal number of vacancies of the Bar quota in JKHC. Sources said that the final decision was expected in the next two weeks, before Chief Justice Gogoi’s retirement and before the State’s transition into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh on 31 October.
In July this year, JKHC collegium has also recommended three sitting judges-Registrar General Sanjay Dhar, Principal District and Sessions Judge Jammu Vinod Chatterjee Kaul and Puneet Gupta-to fill equal number of vacancies in the judicial officers quota. However, none of them has been invited for necessary interaction by the Supreme Court collegium till date.
Sources said that the three judges’ recommendation was still under process with the union Ministry of Law and Justice.
JKHC, which has a sanctioned strength of 17 judges, is currently operating with just 9 judges including Chief Justice Gita Mittal. One more post would be falling vacant with the retirement of Justice Rashid Ali Dar next month.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper