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SC reserves Madras HC bench turmoil verdict, frowns on list withdrawal, recommends forums for 'genuine grievances' against collegium selection

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved judgement in the challenge to the controversial 12 names that were recommended for judgeship at the Madras high court, reported The Hindu.

The under-representation of certain communities in the list of 12 was one of he main causes for controversy. Supreme Court justice BS Chauhan who was hearing the matter said: “To consider a community and say they are not eligible is different from not considering them at all.”

The bench of Chauhan and justices MY Eqbal and J Chelmaswar also said it found “difficult to understand” the logic behind the 18 February withdrawal of the list of 12 by the Supreme Court collegium, reported the Times of India. The list had then been withdrawn based on the grounds that there was “unprecedented opposition” to it at the Madras bar and that the new chief justice of the Madras HC, since justice RK Agrawal’s elevation, had a right to consider names afresh.

The bench refused to treat the case as infructuous just on the ground that the collegium had already withdrawn the list, reported the Express adding that the bench suggested setting up a forum to “address the genuine grievances by the lawyers” over selection of judges through the collegium.

The TOI report added that the bench said:

“Is it a mere accident that there is no representation (of certain segments of society)? And could the accident continue for 60 years? It is surely not an accident. And we cannot shut out the debate by saying no one has a justiciable right to be considered for appointment as a judge.”

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