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District judges Sunita Gupta, Deepa Sharma, registrar VP Vaish to become Delhi HC judges alongside seniors Nath, Rao, Bakhru, Sachdeva [UPDATE]

The Delhi High Court is slated to welcome Delhi Tis Hazari district judge Sunita Gupta and Delhi HC registrar general VP Vaish as additional judges after at least four senior advocates and one advocate are due to take seat at the bench.

Gupta and Vaish will be the sixth and seventh to take up the mantle, an authoritative source close to the process told Legally India, while the name of the eighth candidate is yet to be confirmed according to several other sources.

Senior advocates Jayant Nath, V Kameshwar Rao, Vibhu Bakhru, and Sanjeev Sachdeva, and advocate Najmi Waziri were recommended by the Supreme Court collegium and accepted by the government, according to the Hindustan Times on 12 April. Also recommended for elevation by the Delhi HC but rejected by the Supreme Court collegium citing “sharp division of opinion”, were senior advocates Sudhanshu Batra and Rajeev Kumar Virmani, and advocates Anusuya Salwan and Maninder Acharya - four names that were pending for two years now, according to the paper.

The four seniors in the list were all elevated to their status by the Delhi high court. Nath was designated a senior in 2006, Rao in 2010, and Bakhru and Sachdeva in 2011.

Vaish is the sitting registrar general of the HC since December 2010.

The Hindustan Times report on the collegium process stated that none of the Supreme Court judges’ adverse opinion on the recommendations were related to integrity or professional competence in a “confidential note sent to the government”. However, the collegium expressed concern at the growing number of complaints against those whose names were recommended for judgeship, and said that the complainants were people with “ulterior motives”.

On 19 March 2013, writ petitioner Deepak Khosla challenged Bakhru’s nomination to the court’s judgeship in Deepak Khosla V Hon’ble the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court & Ors.

In a letter to the president of India Khosla wrote: “A fraud is being played on your office. This man […] is facing perjury proceedings himself before the Delhi High Court, as well as disciplinary proceedings before the Bar Council of Delhi.” Khosla’s petition is currently pending in the Delhi HC.

Correction 15:19: The original version of this story erroneously stated that Sunita Gupta was an advocate and not a district judge. The error is regretted.

Update 16 April: Additional district judge Deepa Sharma was confirmed as the eighth person to recieve presidential assent for elevation to the Delhi HC [PIB]

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