Centre Blocks Proposal for J&K HC Judge, SC Collegium Asks Why
The SC collegium in April 2018 had recommended that Wasim Sadiq Nargal be elevated as judge of the J&K High Court.
The Law Ministry, nearly a year after returning the Supreme Court collegium’s recommendation of appointing Wasim Sadiq Nargal as a judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, has not yet given a reason on the decision, reported The Indian Express.
On 6 April 2018, the SC collegium, then headed by ex-Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, had cleared the way for the elevation of Nargal, then Senior Additional Advocate General, to the position of a judge in the J&K High Court. This would have made Nargal the first Muslim judge from Jammu in the High Court, the report said.
According to the report, Nargal was 49 at the time of the SC’s recommendation, and with 12 years of experience as a permanent high court judge, would have been a potential chief justice of a high court in the country.
In light of the Centre returning the recommendation without any explanation as to why it wanted a reconsideration, the SC collegium has asked the government for an explanation.
The collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, at its last meeting, said: “As regards Shri Wasim Sadiq Nargal, Advocate, consideration of the proposal for his elevation is deferred for the present. Meanwhile, Department of Justice is requested to furnish specific information in detail on the basis of which the proposal for elevation of Shri Nargal has been referred back for reconsideration by the collegium.”
Nargal was not the lone recommendation made by the collegium in April 2018. Apart from him, Advocate Nazir Ahmed Beig, Assistant Solicitor General Sindhu Sharma and Judicial Officer Rashid Ali Dar were recommended for elevation to be appointed as Judges of the J&K High Court, according to the report.
Further, the report also stated that the collegium had decided seniority would be fixed as per the existing practice, meaning that Nargal, had he been elevated, would have been foremost in seniority.
According to an earlier report by The Indian Express dated 20 June 2018, the Law Ministry had already started processing the files related to Nargal, Dar and Sharma and noted that the recommendation with respect to Beig would be returned. However, while Sharma and Dar’s files were processed, both Beig and Nargal’s names were withheld.
Nargal submitted his resignation to the government in June 2018 and is now an advocate in Jammu, reported The Indian Express.
Sources told The Indian Express that Nargal, who has more than 26 years of experience at the Bar, became Senior Additional Advocate General in February 2017 and dealt with cases related to the Home Department and the Information Department under the BJP-PDP government.
He also served as Additional Advocate General in J&K, from September 2015 until November 2016.
At the moment, there are only nine judges in the J&K High Court against the approved strength of 17.
(With inputs from The Indian Express.)
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