12 new judges for Punjab & Haryana HC

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For the first time ever, the Punjab and Haryana High Court will get 12 judges in one go. The President has cleared the names of five District and Sessions Judges and seven advocates for elevation to the high court bench.

The list is, perhaps, the last to be cleared under the old collegium system from the high court. It also contains the names of two women judges, taking their total number to nine. After their elevation, the number of judges in the high court will touch the 57 mark for the first time. Their number has mostly been under 50.

The list is the longest so far. Prior to this, 10 judges were administered oath on the same day in March 1991, followed by the elevation of eight judges in one day in February 1999. The list comes at a time when the judges’ sanctioned strength in the high court here has increased from 68 to 85.

The high court collegium, which recommended their names, too underwent a complete change with the then Chief Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul being transferred and Justice Jasbir Singh retiring upon attaining the age of superannuation.

The advocates to be elevated are Jaishree Thakur, Deepak Sibal, Anupinder Singh Grewal, Hari Pal Verma, Amit Rawal, Raj Mohan Singh and BS Walia. Both Sibal and Thakur were on panel of the Chandigarh Administration as additional government pleaders on the civil side. Educated in Chandigarh, Thakur has been a national-level basketball player and is a keen golfer. She has also been editor of the Indian Law Reporter and has taught in Panjab University for six years.

Perhaps the youngest among the Judges-designate, Deepak is former union law minister Kapil Sibal’s cousin and the “first Sibal to be elevated as a judge”. Grewal has been Punjab’s Additional Advocate-General, while Rawal was a private legal practitioner. Raj Mohan Singh was a member of the Bar Council of India and the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana. Verma too has been on several panels.

The Sessions Judges to be administered oath are Darshan Singh, Shekhar Kumar Dhawan, Sneh Prashar, Raj Rahul Garg from Haryana and Gurmit Ram from Punjab. None of them are kith and kin of the sitting or retired judges. The Judges-designate are expected to be administered oath by the Acting Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana HC, Justice Ashutosh Mohunta, next week.

5 Sessions Judges

The Sessions Judges to be administered oath are Darshan Singh, Shekhar Kumar Dhawan, Sneh Prashar, Raj Rahul Garg from Haryana and Gurmit Ram from Punjab

7 advocates

The advocates to be elevated are Jaishree Thakur, Deepak Sibal, Anupinder Singh Grewal, Hari Pal Verma, Amit Rawal, Raj Mohan Singh and BS Walia