AMBA suspects impersonation and forgery in alleged memo on HC judge appointment: AMBA president

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IMPHAL, April 16: The president of the All Manipur Bar Association, AMBA, Khaidem Mani, in a statement today made in response to the IFP news of April 14 `Bar association cries foul at CM`™s alleged recommended of a junior officer for HC Judgeship` denied his organisation ever made the statement.

`At the outset as President of All Manipur Bar Association, AMBA, I have no knowledge about the alleged `AMBA memo`™ as quoted` by the newpaper, the press statement said.

It also said there was also no `such resolution of the Bar to submit or send such letter/memorandum on the subject concerned to any authority.`

In a telephonic conversation with IFP, Kaidem Mani, who is currently out of station, said he suspects impersonation and forgery of his office stationary and seal by certain interested parties. `Since January, there have been four executive meetings and no decision remotely close to what is alleged, has ever been taken,` Mani further said.

Furthermore, many information contained in the alleged `memo`™ is unwarranted and misleading, the press statement said. As for instance the High Court of Manipur was inaugurated not in the month of December, 2011 as alleged but on March 23, 2013.

`As a matter of practice the AMBA till date has never questioned nor interfered in the wisdom and decision of the Hon`™ble Judges of the High Court in the affairs of posting and selection of their officers,` Mani`™s statement said.

The advocate also clarified on phone that the procedure of appointing judge is initiated not by the Chief Minister, but by the High Court. `Normally, three HC judges first have to recommend the appointment of a person and seek the approval of the Chief Minister and the Governor, and not the other way around,` he said.

He also said Judgeship does not follow any time scale promotion scheme, and appointments are made strictly on merit, though seniority is given some consideration.

`This culture of crab in the bucket mentality in the legal profession whereby colleagues are too eager to pull down the brightest amongst them to their own levels is very unfortunate,` Mani said.

Highlighting a point of law, he said as per Article 217 (2) (a) of the Constitution of India `A person shall not be qualified for appointment as a judge of a High Court unless he is citizen of India and has for at least ten years held a judicial office in the territory of India.`

This being the case, `any judicial officer who has held judicial office at any level for at least 10 years is eligible to be considered for judgeship of the High Court`™` Mani further said.

Seniority therefore is not the top priority in the appointment of a judge at all. Instead qualities given a premium in such appointments are suitability, integrity, reputation and temperament, etc, the senior advocate said.

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