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Monday, March 12, 2012

J&K High Court to get 5-7 new judges in 2012

Magray, Azharul Amin, Kotwal, Bhat, Thakur among 7 cleared for appointment

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

JAMMU, Mar 5: With the clearance of the names of five advocates and two judges, the process of filling up all seven existing vacancies of judges in Jammu and Kashmir High Court has begun.

The Collegium, comprising Chief Justice FM Ibrahim Kalifullah and the two senior most judges of the state High Court, namely Mr Justice Virendar Singh and Mr Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir, is reliably understood to have held a meeting and cleared the names of seven advocates and judges for their recommendation. The other day only, recommendations are said to have gone separately to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Governor N N Vohra, union Ministry of Justice and Law and Chief Justice of India.  After intelligence and vigilance clearance besides necessary clearance by Chief Justice of India, warrants of appoints are issued on behalf of President of India by Department of Justice of the union Ministry of Justice and Law.

Having sanctioned strength of 9 permanent and 5 additional judges (including Chief Justice), JKHC has currently a total of seven incumbents. As such, seven vacancies are required to be filled up. In case Chief Justice Kalifullah, whose name has been reportedly cleared by Supreme Court of India, is appointed as a judge of Supreme Court in near future, the number of judges in JKHC would further reduce to six and the vacancies would increase to eight.

If knowledgeable sources are to be believed, names of two judges and five advocates have been received by Chief Minister and same are being processed for the state government’s remarks and recommendations. However, Government would be sending its observations in favour of only six candidates. Senior advocate Hakeem Ishtiyaq Hussain, who was believed to be among the seven, has passed away on Monday. He was son of former District and Sessions Judge, Hakeem Ghulam Hussain, and brother of recently retired judge of JKHC and now member of J&K Accountability Commission, Hakeem Imtiyaz Hussain.

Those being considered for recommendations by the state government include Registrar General of JKHC, Mr Janak Raj Kotwal and Principal District & Sessions Judge, Mr Bansi Lal Bhat, who is currently posted as Sessions Judge with CBI’s designated court in J&K. They have been picked up for elevation from the Judicial Service.

Five advocates, including Hakeem Ishtiyaq Hussain, are said to have been picked up from Bar, both in Srinagar and Jammu. They include senior Additional Advocate General, Ali Mohammad Magray, advocate Azharul Amin, senior advocate at Jammu wing of JKHC, Dheeraj Singh Thakur, and advocate Tashi Robertson of Leh who has been practicing law at Jammu wing of JKHC since 1992. Mr Thakur happens to be the son of former additional judge of JKHC, late Devi Das Thakur, who functioned as Deputy Chief Minister in Ghulam Mohammad Shah’s government in 1984-86. Dheeraj’s elder brother, T S Thakur, is already working as a judge of Supreme Court of India.

Among the seven incumbent judges at JKHC, four are from Bar and three from Service. After years of practice in home state Tamil Nadu, Mr Justice Kalifullah was appointed as a judge of Madras High Court on March 2nd, 2000. He was transferred to JKHC on February 24th, 2011 and appointed as acting CJ on April 7th, 2011. On September 18th, 2011, he took over as CJ of JKHC.

Mr Justice Virendar Singh joined Bar in his home state in 1978. He was appointed as a judge of Punjab & Haryana High Court on July 2nd, 2002. Later, upon his transfer he joined as a judge of JKHC on April 19th, 2007.

Mr Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir cracked the state’s Higher Judicial Service Examination with distinction in 1992 and was appointed as District and Sessions Judge of Kupwara on 27-05-1993. He was elevated as additional judge of JKHC on 31-01-2005 and became a permanent judge at the same place on 07-07-2007.

Mr Justice Jai Pal Singh, who belongs to J&K, was appointed as an additional judge of JKHC, after over two decades of legal practice, on 04-10-2005. He was confirmed as a permanent judge of JKHC on 01-10-2009.

Justice Mansoor Mir’s brother, Mr Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir, cleared J&K Civil Service (Judicial) Examination in 1992 and was appointed a Munsiff. After holding several key positions in subordinate judiciary, he functioned as Principal DSJ of Srinagar in 2006-07. He was elevated as an additional judge of JKHC on 23-11-2007 and confirmed as a permanent judge on 01-10-2009.

Mr Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar, who worked as a legal practitioner at Anantnag and Srinagar, was appointed as an additional judge for JKHC on 05-11-2008. He became a permanent judge on 05-03-2010.

Mr Justice Hasnain Masoodi, who has the distinction of masters from the prestigious Harvard University, was appointed as an additional judge of JKHC, after 27 years of judicial service, on 13-11-2009.


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