Even as a list containing new names recommended for appointment to the Madras High Court has been drawn, there is a hue and cry from caste-based outfits and political parties for more representation to their respective castes/communities. This despite the fact that there is no provision in the Constitution for appointment of judges to the High Courts on caste basis.
While one association named after Dr B R Ambedkar, father of the Constitution, led by advocate Prof M Udaya Bhanu, has appealed to the Madras High Court Chief Justice RK Agrawal to give more representations to the SC/STs in the appointment of judges in November last, another association in the same name headed by ‘Dalit Tiger’ C Ponnusamy has staged a demonstration on the High Court premises demanding the same, last week.
On its part, the Pattali Makkal Katchi, has been demanding appointment of Vanniyars as HC judges. Presently there are 47 judges in the Madras High Court against the sanctioned strength of 60. Of them, nine belonged to SC/ST, according to Udhaya Bhanu’s own statement to the CJ. Even though the SC/STs chunk in the Bench is high compared to all other castes, the associations are demanding more representation. Of the nine judges, only three are from the Bar and six from the service, they point out, and claim that six more SC/STs should be appointed as judges from the Bar. They point out that no SC/STs were appointed from the Bar till 2007. Twelve judges were appointed from the Bar in 2007, of them only three belonged to SC/STs.
Claiming that Justice N Kirubakaran is the only judge representing Vanniyars community, advocate K Balu of the PMK, said it is imperative to appoint more judges from the community. According to his statement, there are seven judges from Brahmin community, eight from Thevar, five each from Mudaliar and Vellala Gounder, two from Naidu, one each from Nadar and Udayar, four from Pillai, two from Yadava, one each from Nair and goldsmith, two from Vaniya Chettiar and one Muslim.
In this connection, the associations cited a recent directive from Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam (a Vellala Gounder of Erode origin) requesting the Chief Justices of all the High Courts in the country to give adequate representation to the SC/STs and OBCs, by relaxing some conditions, if necessary.