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Badal’s absence delays clearance of names proposed as HC judges

With Chief Minister Punjab Parkash Singh Badal abroad,the names of those recommended for elevation.

Written by RAGHAV OHRI | Chandigarh |
December 4, 2010 11:47:58 pm

CM expected to return to country on Dec 12; list cannot be sent to Supreme Court before that

With Chief Minister Punjab Parkash Singh Badal abroad,the names of those recommended for elevation as High Court judges will take at least a fortnight for clearance before they are sent to the Supreme Court. This is because the authority to clear the names prior to their despatch to the Supreme Court vests only with the CM,who is expected to return on December 12.

The Deputy Chief Minister cannot okay the file in the absence of the CM as the rules clearly say that the Chief Minister alone can clear the file. Moreover,since the post of Deputy Chief Minister is not a constitutional office,he cannot clear the names.

The Indian Express was the first to report a fortnight ago the seven names,including six practicing lawyers of the Punjab and Haryana High Court,recommended for elevation to the Bench. The names were dispatched to the Law Ministry last week with a copy,as per the procedure,to the states of Punjab and Haryana.

The Governor of Haryana,being the seniormost,has sent the file to the Governor of Punjab who has,in turn,sent it to the Punjab CM for his comments on the names recommended. Till the CM returns,the file cannot move.

According to the available information,the state of Haryana too is yet to send the list to the apex court. As per the procedure laid down,the file will be sent to the Supreme Court which will then send it to the Law Ministry.

The latter will send it to the Prime Minister’s office (PMO) followed by the President’s approval. “The file will take time as after the Chief Minister returns,there are issues and other projects which are of top priority. The clearance will take time,” said a senior Punjab government officer.

The names in the pipeline are High Court Registrar General V S Malik and advocates R N Raina,N K Sanghi,Rameshwar Malik,T S Dhindsa,P S Dhaliwal and Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia. Other than civil and criminal practice,Raina has assisted various Benches of the High Court as amicus curiae.

N K Sanghi is the Punjab additional advocate general while Rameshwar Malik is the Haryana additional advocate general. Both Sanghi and Malik have represented their states in important cases.

Sanghi is handling the petition filed by Punjab Congress President and former chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh in which he has sought the quashing of the FIR registered against him by Amritsar Improvement Trust. Malik has represented Haryana before the Division Bench of the Chief Justice in cases like those related to Khap Panchayats and runaway marriages.

Advocate Gurmeet Singh Sandhawalia,son of Justice S S Sandhwalia and the youngest in the lot to be considered for elevation,has his expertise in civil law. Advocates Dhindsa and Dhaliwal too have civil law as their core area,including revenue and service matters.

At present,the total strength of Judges in the court is 43. If the list of the aforesaid seven names is cleared,the Bench strength will touch 50.

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