Statement by SCBA derogatory to High Court lawyers, withdraw it: Bar Association of Calcutta High Court writes to SCBA President, CJI NV Ramana


 In the letter to CJI Ramana, the Bar Association also opposed the proposal of SCBA to elevate Supreme Court lawyers as High Court judges claiming that it will affect the independence and purity of selection process.

The Bar Association of Calcutta High Court has written to Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana and Supreme Court Bar Association President (SCBA) Vikas Singh separately, with regard to the recent proposal by the SCBA to consider Supreme Court lawyers for elevation as High Court judges.

In the letter to CJI Ramana, the Bar Association opposed the proposal of SCBA claiming that it will affect the independence and purity of selection process.

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"Such a move, if true, interferes with the independence and purity of the selection process and militate against the law laid down by constitution Benches of the Hon'ble supreme court of India relating to appointment of Judges of Hon'ble High courts. The same will also be against constitutional norms," the letter to CJI Ramana said.

Each High Court has its own independent selection method upon observance of various factors depending upon the personal assessment of the candidates by the collegiums of the concerned High Courts and it cannot be, in any way, marred by out_sourcing.

The Bar Association, therefore, urged the CJI to reject the proposal of SCBA "and be kind enough to follow the age old practice to maintain the sanctity of the institution."

In a separate but strongly worded letter to Singh, the Bar Association took strong exception to Singh's comment in communication dated June 8, 2021 to Supreme Court lawyers in which he said that lawyers practicing in the Supreme Court are more meritorious than their colleagues practicing before the High Courts.

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Singh had stated how Supreme Court lawyers are not considered by High Court collegium for elevation to High Courts even though Supreme Court lawyers are "professionally more meritorious" than their high court counterparts.

"Inspite of having vast experience and exposure in dealing with all kinds of issues relating to civil, criminal, constitutional, commercial law, etc., the lawyers practicing in the Supreme Court are rarely considered for elevation by the High Court collegium as they do not regularly practice before the High Court and while being professionally more meritorious than their colleagues at the High Court, loose the opportunity for being considered as such," Singh's communication said.

The letter by Bar Association of Calcutta High Court condemned the communication made by the SCBA for elevation of lawyers practicing in the Supreme Court as High Court judges based on the justification that they are more competent and meritorious than their colleagues practising in High Courts across the country. It said,


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"Such hyperbolic assessment of competence of lawyers is not only baseless and absurd but also is a figment of your imagination. The lawyers practising in various High Courts in particular in our High Court at Calcutta are not only equally competent but are also socially responsible, which is an important factor to be a Judge of a democratic society," the Bar Association said in its letter to Singh.

The association, therefore, asked Singh to withdraw his letter.

"Your statement puts all the lawyers practicing in various High Courts in ridicule and is derogatory to the larger sections of the lawyer community. You are requested to withdraw your said letter, which we believe was issued without proper application of mind," the Bar Association said.

Earlier the Delhi High Court Bar Association and Karnataka lawyers had also taken objection to Singh's statement on competence of High Court lawyers.


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