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Kapil Sibal promises action on TN judges’ list row

Published Jan 23, 2014, 1:23 pm IST
Updated Mar 19, 2019, 7:43 am IST
Advocates across Tamil Nadu have been agitating for the recall of the ‘list of 12’.
Picture for representational purpose only.
 Picture for representational purpose only.

Chennai: Lawyers in Tamil Nadu will return to courts on Thursday following assurances from Union law minister Kapil Sibal and Chief Justice of India P. Sathasivam that they would intervene in positive manner to resolve the controversy over the list of 12 names recommended by the Madras high court collegium for elevation as judges.

A delegation led by the Madras high court advocates’ association president R.C. Paul Kanagaraj and TNAA chief S. Prabakaran called on the two dignitaries at Delhi on Wednesday and explained the ‘anguish’ in the Bar and elsewhere too over the list, which they alleged had been prepared sans transparency.


Advocates across the state have been agitating for the recall of the ‘list of 12’ and the initiating of a fresh ‘transparent’ process for choosing the names of lawyers for elevation.

They boycotted the courts last Friday and renewed the strike after attending to work on Monday.

While a Bench is hearing a petition from senior lawyer R Gandhi seeking the list’s recall, Justice C. S. Karnan jumped into the fray making serious allegations against the collegium that included Chief Justice R K Agrawal.

It’s in the backdrop of such volcanic eruption of anger and distrust that the lawyers’ trip to Delhi took place on Wednesday.

“We met law minister Kapil Sibal and he assured us he would take necessary action on the MHAA representation to recall the list. He also told us to meet CJI, which we did”, MHAA president Paul Kanagaraj told DC over phone from Delhi.

“CJI told us since he is from TN, he has deep interest in the state and will ensure that only persons with absolute qualifications will be elevated as judges”, Kanagaraj said. 

List war may end soon but Karnan’s may not

J. Stalin | DC

Chennai: With the lawyers calling off their bitter battle against the ‘list of 12’ and their boycott of courts following their Delhi mission and the resulting assurances on Wednesday, tempers are expected to quickly cool down in the coming days.

The courts are likely to function normally from Thursday. “We will be back to work tomorrow as the Chief Justice of India accepted the feelings of the Bar”, said president Paul Kanagaraj of the Madras high court advocates’ association.

The lawyers’ delegation comprising Kanagaraj, TNAA president S Prabakaran, Women Lawyers’ Association president D Prasanna, senior counsel R Gandhi, lawyer P Vijender and few others, met law minister Kapil Sibal at his residence at about 4.45 pm and presented a petition seeking recall of the list sent by the Madras high court collegium for elevation of 12 lawyers as judges of the court. The minister promised appropriate action and directed the delegation to also call on CJI P Sathasivam.

According to Kanagaraj, when the team arrived at CJI’s residence, he had Supreme Court Judges Ibrahim Kalifullah and C Nagappan to assist him, possibly because both were also from Tamil Nadu.

“We explained to them how the collegium selected unqualified persons for the list and did not follow the Apex Court rulings”, the MHAA chief told DC over phone from Delhi. He expressed confidence that the CJI would soon remedy the situation.

The CJI told the TN team that the list file was now with the law ministry and once it reaches him within the next few days, he would sit with the SC collegium and take up the various representations from the lawyers. “He told us to expect good things”, Kanagaraj said.

In the meanwhile, Justice C S Karnan, who had created a flutter marching into the court hall where a Bench comprising Justices V Dhanapalan and K K Sasidharan was hearing the petition from senior lawyer Gandhi for direction to recall the ‘list of 12’, and declaring that the list was bad and the selection lacked transparency. He had earlier barged into Chief Justice R K Agrawal’s chamber and, to quote from the CJ’s complaint to the CJI, “hurled a volley of invectives” and accused him of corruption and misconduct. Justice Agrawal sought the transfer of Justice Karnan.

However, Justice Karnan has now written to both CJI and CJ Agrawal arguing that he should not be transferred as his presence as judge of the Madras HC “is absolutely essential until the decks are cleared”.

After the enquiry is done to the satisfaction of all, he would “certainly and willingly proceed to any other high court throughout the length and breadth of India to serve with dignity and uphold the highest levels of judicial propriety”, Justice Karnan wrote.

Location: Tamil Nadu