NEW DELHI: For the first time in the appointment of High Court judges, the Supreme Court collegium - comprising the apex court's top three judges including Chief Justice of India - conducted interviews of the recommended candidate before finalising and recommending their names for appointment to Calcutta and Madhya Pradesh High Courts.
The three-judge collegium includes Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice J.Chelameswar and Justice Ranjan Gogoi. The collegium meeting took place on March 26.
This is another step in making the appointment process transparent after the top court collegium had last year decided to put on its website the names of the candidates recommended for appointment as judges to the High Courts along with the reasons.
Apart from "assessing merit and suitability" of recommended candidates for elevation to the High Court, "we invited all the recommendees with a view to have an interaction with them.", said the collegium resolution put on the top court website.
This was "over and above" the material placed in the file which included the views of the Chief Minister forwarded by the Governor of West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh respectively reports of the Intelligence Bureau, and other relevant criteria including the observations by the Department of Justice.
The court adopted the new procedure of interviewing the recommended candidates for appointment to Calcutta High Court and Madhya Pradesh High Court.
In all, the collegium had received seven names for appointment as judges to Calcutta High Court and cleared five of them. In one case, it felt it needed further information to assess his suitability and in another case, it deferred the decision for his elevation.
The five people cleared for appointment as judges of the Calcutta High Court included Biswajit Basu, Amrita Sinha, Sutanu Kumar Patra, Abhijit Gangopadhyay, and Jay Sengupta.
In the case of Madhya Pradesh High Court, all the five names that were recommended by the High Court and forwarded by the Madhya Pradesh government were cleared.
The five are Sanjay Dwivedi, Akhil Kumar Shrivastava, Brij Kishore Shrivastava, Rajendra Kumar Shrivastava, and Mohd. Fahim Anwar.
Except for Dwivedi who is a practising advocate, rest four are judicial officers in subordinate judiciary.