Collegium recommends three judges for Bombay High Court 

“While juniors are associated with the chamber, they are free to do their own work and for all the intents and purposes, are entitled to independent legal practice.
Bombay High Court (Photo | PTI)
Bombay High Court (Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court collegium has recommended the appointment of advocate Firdosh Phiroze Pooniwalla as Bombay High Court judge by brushing aside the Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) objection that the recommended counsel had worked as a junior who had written an article expressing concerns over the alleged lack of freedom of speech/expression in the country in the last 5-6 years.

Noting that the views expressed by his senior had no bearing on Pooniwalla’s competence, ability or credentials for being appointed as an HC judge, the collegium comprising CJI DY Chandrachud, justices SK Kaul and KM Joseph in the resolution said junior counsel associated with the chamber of a senior on the original side is not engaged in a relationship of employer-employee with their senior.

“While juniors are associated with the chamber, they are free to do their own work and for all the intents and purposes, are entitled to independent legal practice. No adverse comments reflecting on the suitability of the candidate for elevation have been made in the file. The candidate has extensive practice at the Bar and is specialised in commercial law.” 

“The candidate professes Parsi Zoroastrianism and belongs to a minority community. Keeping in mind the above aspects and on an overall consideration of the proposal for his elevation, the collegium is of the considered opinion that Shri Firdosh Phiroze Pooniwalla is suitable for appointment as a judge of the High Court of Bombay.”

Apart from recommending Parsi lawyer’s name, the collegium also recommended the appointment of advocates Jitendra Shantilal Jain and Shailesh Pramod Brahme as Bombay HC judges. Observing that Jain’s background would be an asset to the work of HC since the Bombay High Court also has a large volume of tax-related cases, the resolution said,

“Enquiries have been made by a member of the collegium conversant with the affairs of the High Court of Bombay on the issue which has been flagged by the Intelligence Bureau pertaining to his work in the chamber of a senior on the taxation side about 20 years ago.” 

“Enquiries have indicated that while it is correct that the candidate had ceased working in the chamber of that senior, he subsequently joined the chamber of a noted senior counsel at the Bar. The fact of the candidate has left the chamber of a senior earlier has no bearing on his ability, competence or integrity.”

Brushes aside IB’s objection in one case
The apex court collegium brushed aside Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) objection that the recommended counsel had worked as a junior who had written an article expressing concerns over the alleged lack of freedom of speech/expression in the country in the last 5-6 years. The collegium said that the candidate professes Parsi Zoroastrianism and belongs to a minority community. Keeping in mind the above aspects and on an overall consideration of the proposal for his elevation, the collegium is of the considered opinion that Shri Firdosh Phiroze Pooniwalla is suitable for appointment as a judge of the High Court of Bombay”. The collegium also recommended the appointment of advocates Jitendra Shantilal Jain and Shailesh Pramod Brahme.

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