Claims of nepotism in advocate picks for Allahabad High Court

The government has received multiple complaints alleging nepotism in recent recommendations by the Allahabad high court collegium for the appointment of 33 advocates as judges of the country’s largest high court.

The complaints, received by the PMO and law ministry, have been referred for an Intelligence Bureau (IB) inquiry with at least 11 advocates allegedly claimed to be close relatives and associates of sitting and retired judges of the Supreme Court and the high court. The cases include the brother-in-law of a current SC judge, a first cousin of another, besides sons and nephews of present and former judges.

In a similar case in 2016, the Allahabad HC collegium had recommended names of 30 advocates for judgeship. After complaints from bar associations and other quarters about recommendations, including close relatives of judges and politicians, then CJI TS Thakur had rejected candidature of 11 advocates, resulting in approval of only 19 names. The Centre, too, had validated the allegations through background checks by the IB.

Though an IB check is mandatory and routine in the case of judicial appointments, the specific charges or allegations of nepotism will be examined in the context of the government receiving complaints.

The latest recommendations of the Allahabad HC collegium were made in February this year. The government is also awaiting comments from the governor and UP CM on the recommendations, a mandatory procedure apart from an IB verification.

One candidate in the list of 33 is a law partner of a sitting judge of the HC and another a law partner of the wife of an important political functionary. According to the complaints, scheduled castes (SCs), scheduled tribes (STs) and other backward castes (OBCs) have found a lesser representation in the list.

TOI had reported that the government has received recommendations from the Allahabad HC collegium for appointment of 33 advocates as judges of the HC. The Allahabad HC currently has 100 judges against a sanctioned strength of 160.economictimes

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