JAMMU, Aug 1: Centre has cleared two names – one Advocate and another Judicial Officer for appointment as Judges of the J&K High Court and dropped name of another advocate who had also been recommended by the Supreme Court collegium.
Reliable sources told EXCELSIOR, “the candidates who have been cleared for the appointment are Advocate Sindhu Sharma and former District and Sessions Judge, Rashid Ali Dar. While Advocate Sindhu Sharma is presently Assistant Solicitor General of India in J&K High Court, Jammu Wing, Dar had retired as Principal District and Sessions Judge Srinagar on November 20 last year”.
“The name of Advocate Wasim Sadiq Nargal, who had served as Senior Additional Advocate General has been dropped by the Modi Government despite recommendations by the SC Collegium”, sources said adding, “there is no clarity over the exact reason for dropping the name of Nargal”.
Sources added, “the file is presently in the office of President, Ram Nath Kovind and the warrants of appointment of Sindhu Sharma and Rashid Ali Dar are likely to be issued within few days”.
The sanctioned strength of the J&K High Court is 17 Judges including Chief Justice, but presently there are only 8 Judges. These included Justice Ali Mohd Magrey, Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur, Justice Tashi Rabstan, Justice Janak Raj Kotwal, Justice Sanjeev Kumar Shukla, Justice M K Hanjura and Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta besides acting Chief Justice Alok Aradhe.
“With these two appointments, the strength will go to 10 and will further be increased after the President issues notification for appointment of Justice Gita Mittal, whose name has been recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium for the post of Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court”, sources said adding, “the notification of Justice Gita Mittal is also likely to be issued next week”.
It is pertinent to mention here that on August 24, 2017 the then Chief Justice Badar Durez Ahmad in consultation with two senior most Judges had recommended five names for appointment as High Court Judges.
However, on April 6 this year Apex Court Collegium had recommended names of three Advocates and one Judicial Officer for appointment as Judges of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. These included Wasim Sadiq Nargal, Nazir Ahmed Beig, Sindhu Sharma – all advocates and former District and Sessions Judge Srinagar, Rashid Ali Dar.
The case of another Advocate from Kashmir – Showkat Ahmad Makroo was deferred by the SC Collegium in view of the material available against the candidate.
Subsequently, the Union Law Ministry cleared only three names to be appointed as Judges to the High Court and withheld one name (Advocate Nazir Ahmed Beig) despite recommendations by the Supreme Court Collegium.
However, only two persons could make it to the final list — Sindhu Sharma and Rashid Ali Dar.
Advocate Sindhu Sharma was the first lady Advocate of State to be appointed as Assistant Solicitor General of India. “She will have the distinction of being first lady Judge of the State”, sources asserted.
She was appointed as Assistant Solicitor General of India first in November 2014 for a period of three years and further granted extension for a period of three years in November 2017. She is presently counsel for NHPC, Power Grid Corporation and Jammu Development Authority.