Over 10 months after SC Collegium reiterated his name, advocate Somasekhar Sundaresan made HC judge

Over 10 months after SC Collegium reiterated his name, advocate Somasekhar Sundaresan made HC judge

New Delhi, Nov 23 (PTI) Over 10 months after the Supreme Court collegium reiterated his name, advocate Somasekhar Sundaresan was on Thursday appointed as an additional judge of the Bombay High Court.

Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal announced the appointment of Sundaresan on X and extended his best wishes.

After Thursday's appointment, the names still pending with the government are of advocate Saurabh Kirpal for Delhi High Court, Amitabh Banerjee and Shakya Sen for Calcutta High Court, and John Satyan for Madras High Court.

In October 2021, the Collegium of Bombay High Court had recommended the name of Sundaresan. In February 2022, the SC collegium recommended his name for appointment as a judge of the Bombay High Court.

On November 25, 2022, the government had sought reconsideration of the recommendation on the ground that he had aired his views on social media on several issues which were the subject matter of consideration before the courts.

'Having considered the objection to the candidature of Somasekhar Sundaresan, the Collegium is of the view that the views on social media attributed to the candidate do not furnish any foundation to infer that he is biased. The issues on which opinions have been attributed to the candidate are in the public domain and have been extensively deliberated upon in the print and electronic media,' the SC collegium had said on January 18 while reiterating his name.

The collegium had observed that the manner in which the candidate had expressed his views does not justify the inference that he is a 'highly biased opinionated person' or that he has been 'selectively critical on the social media on the important policies, initiatives and directions of the government' as indicated in the objections of Department of Justice.

It had also said that nor is there any material to indicate that the expressions used by the candidate are suggestive of his links with any political party with strong ideological leanings.

'All citizens have the right to free speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution. Expression of views by a candidate does not disentitle him to hold a constitutional office so long as the person proposed for judgeship is a person of competence, merit and integrity,' the SC collegium had observed. PTI NAB ZMN

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