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Centre avoids elevation of Advocate Somasekhar Sundaresan while elevating three lawyers as Additional Judges in Bombay High Court

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The Central government, while elevating three Advocates as Additional Judges of the Bombay High Court, has avoided the proposal to elevate counsel Somasekhar Sundaresan to the position of Judge in the High Court. 

The government’s decision to follow the recommendation made on May 2 and overlook the earlier resolution has created a tough situation since the seniority of the advocate whose name was recommended earlier, has been adversely affected. 

In October 2021, the Supreme Court Collegium had suggested the candidature of Advocate Somasekhar Sundaresan for elevation as judge of the Bombay High Court. The same was reiterated in February 2022. However, the Union of India objected to the recommendation on the grounds that Sundaresan, by way of his social media platforms, had posted critical views against the policies formulated by the Government of India. 

The top court of the country settling the issue of elevation of the judge said that personal views of an advocate on social media platforms does not deprive them the right to hold constitutional offices, In the given case, the person recommended is competent and meritorious.  

The court on multiple occasions had expressed its displeasure against the practise of central government of breaking the suggestions given by the collegium. 

Some names mentioned are approved whereas other are abandoned, the court had said. 

The government did not approve the name of Advocate John Sathyan as well for elevation as Madras High Court despite the fact that his name was recommended in the collegium earlier than the people whose name were approved by the government recently. 

The government argued that Sathyan was involved in publishing an article that was critical of Prime Minister. However, the court rejected this contention and again mentioned his name in January for elevation. 

The court through a resolution on March 22 expressed its discontentment over the centre’s refusal to act as per the recommendation of collegium and elevate advocates including Sathyan. 

Seniority is disturbed when advocates whose names were mentioned later were elevated first when compared to those who have been overlooked or withhold, the court commented and pointed it to be a matter of grave concern. 

The three advocates who were elevated by the Union government through notification issued by Ministry of Law and Justice are Shailesh Pramod Brahme, Jitendra Shantilal Jain and Firdosh Phiroze Pooniwalla. 

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