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Of the 20 advocates recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium for the post of judges at the Allahabad High Court, one of the names that are doing the rounds is JJ Munir.

According to a report in the Times of IndiaMunir has a special background. He was the counsel for the petitioners opposing the minority status of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). The petitioners won and AMU lost this special status, and declared a national and central university.

Nineteen names had been finalised by the collegium, then headed by Chief Justice TS Thakur, and sent to the government for approval. That had been delayed for a long time and in the interim Justice JS Khehar took over the top post. According to the report, that was when the name of Allahabad advocate Munir was added to the list, making it 20.

Munir’s name was left out in the earlier list, the reason shown being that he was too young for the post. The government had not agreed. It said that younger people had been considered before. Technically, the largest court of the country is straining for more judges. It has an approved strength of 160, but there is a shortfall of 76. Which, of course, does not justify the inclusion of a lawyer (for the post of judge) whose neutrality is surely questionable.

The report quotes sources as saying that Munir was known to have antagonised certain Muslim groups with his support for the petitioners against the AMU minority status. His “nationalistic” outlook has been praised by the government. His name being added to the list should not, thus, raise eyebrows.

 —India Legal Bureau

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