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There is nothing in Constitution prohibits a lawyer practicing in the SC to be appointed as a judge of the HC: Supreme Court

There is nothing in Constitution prohibits a lawyer practicing in the SC to be appointed as a judge of the HC: Supreme Court

On December 2, the division bench of the Supreme Court composed of Justice S.K. Kaul and Justice A.S. Oka observed that there is no provision in the Constitution of India which prohibits lawyers practicing in the Supreme Court to be appointed as judges of High Courts. A Bench noted the same while hearing a petition contending that as per Article 217 of the Constitution, a person who has been enrolled with a State Bar Council and subsequently shifted practice to the Supreme Court is ineligible to be appointed as a judge of that High Court.

“..on a bare reading of the petition, it is meritless and a complete waste of judicial time. The reading sought to be put to Article 217 would amount to the saying that the Supreme Court is not one of the courts from which judges can be appointed to the High Court’s…There is nothing in the Constitution which provides a prohibition for a lawyer practicing in the Supreme Court to be appointed as a judge of the High Courts. In fact every lawyer is enrolled at the Bar Council of a particular State.”

Considering the nature of the matter, the fact that the petitioner is an advocate and is supposed to be well versed in law, the Bench dismissed the plea with cost, which was directed to be deposited within 4 weeks with the Mediation Centre.

The petitioner, an advocate, Mr. Ashok Pandey, apprised the Bench that names of four advocates practicing in the Supreme Court have been recommended in the list of recommendations from Allahabad High Court. He added that in the last few years six such persons have been appointed by the High Court. It was indicated that the same is in blatant violation of Article 217(2) of the Constitution. Mr. Pandey submitted that ‘such Courts in succession’ in Article 217(2) suggested High Court and does not include the Supreme Court. He contended -
“The Chief Justice (High Courts) can consider the names of those lawyers who are appearing before him.”

Justice Kaul reckoned, “So your view is that if somebody is practicing in say, Rajasthan High Court and over a period of time comes to the Supreme Court, they should never be recommended to be appointed as a judge of the Rajasthan High Court.”

Case Title: Ashok Pandey v. Union of India And Ors. 
Citation: WP(C) No. 823/2022

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