The Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) has written to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana raising strong objections to the Supreme Court Bar Association(SCBA) letter constituting a search committee for identifying meritorious lawyers practising in the Supreme Court for consideration by the high courts’ collegium.
The DHCBA, in particular, took strong exception to the SCBA’s claim that lawyers practicing in SC are more meritorious than their colleagues practicing in the high courts.
“This claim is not only preposterous but in fact, humiliates lawyers practicing before other courts in the country. This claim made by SCBA is not only false and misleading but undermines the competence and talent of lawyers practicing before high courts”, the DHCBA said.
“It is a disturbing and matter of grave concern to have lawyers practicing in the Supreme Court alone be considered a separate class of Advocates to be considered for such distinction. There is no dearth of talented, competent and meritorious lawyers practicing in all the high courts in the country and in the courts subordinate to the high courts,” the DHCBA asserted.
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It said in the letter that it was the collegium of the high court that recommends candidates for elevation based on their merit, competence, conduct and integrity, and general reputation at the Bar. All these qualities are observed, tested and accessed by their regular appearances before the judges of the high court concerned.
If the so-called SCBA search committee, the DHCBA said, is to forward the names for consideration by the high courts then why should there not a similar search committee be formed by every high court bar association, to identify talented and meritorious candidates and forward names to the high court collegium?
“The attempt to create a distinct class of lawyers practicing before the Hon’ble Supreme Court for being considered for elevation as Judge of the Hon’ble High Court is not only unfair, arbitrary and discriminatory but is likely to create resentment amongst a large number of lawyers in the High Courts. This will lead to disgruntlement and demoralisation of a large section of the Bar,” the DHCBA letter said.
The article was originally published in The Leaflet