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Report No. 80

6.5. Consultation by Chief Justice with two seniormost colleagues.-

When making the recommendation for appointment of a judge of the High Court, the Chief Justice, in our opinion, should also consult his two seniormost colleagues. In the letter containing the recommendation for the appointment, the Chief Justice should state that he has consulted his two seniormost colleagues and also indicate the views of each of those colleagues in respect of the person being recommended. We are conscious of the fact that the Constitution does not make it obligatory for the Chief Justice to consult his colleagues when making the recommendation.

Despite the absence of such a requirement, we understand that in some courts the Chief Justice before making the recommendation does consult his two seniormost colleagues while in other courts no such practice is in vogue. Consultation with the two seniormost colleagues, in our opinion, would have a healthy effect and considerably minimise the chances of any possible favouritism. Incorporation of the views of the two seniormost colleagues in the recommendation of the Chief Justice would also enable the other authorities, who come into the picture and who in very nature of things would not have as much personal knowledge about the suitability of the person recommended, to know as to how two other senior colleagues of the Chief Justice feel about the recommendation.

It is plain that the two seniormost colleagues of the Chief Justice would generally have as much knowledge about the suitability of the person recommended as would the Chief Justice. At the same time, we would like to emphasise that the views of the senior colleagues of the Chief Justice shall be confined only to comments on the suitability of the person recommended. It would not be open to them to suggest another name for appointment. Any recommendation of the Chief Justice1 which carries the concurrence of his two seniormost colleagues should normally be accepted.

1. See also para. 6.13, infra.

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