A Bench of the Supreme Court has turned down a plea filed by a Telangana based Lawyer after imposing a cost of Rs. 5 lakh upon him for filling a petition amounting to 'harassment' of the Registrar General whose name was recommended for elevation as a Judge of the Telangana High Court and for abusing the process of law.

Recently, the Supreme Court collegium approved the recommendation of the collegium of the Telangana High Court for the elevation of its Registrar General, A Venkateswar Reddy as a Judge of the High Court. However, Advocate B. Shailesh Saxena had challenged the appointment.

A Bench consisting of Justices S K Kaul and M M Sundresh observed that the process of appointment of Judges to High Courts is a well-established process where the HC collegium considers seniority, merit and all inputs received from the government.

"The collegium of the Supreme Court has the benefit of all the material before taking a call on whether to recommend the name or not. The appointment takes place thereafter by the issuance of warrants of appointment. Thus sufficient safeguards exist in the system. The endeavor of the petitioner is to harass respondent No. 4 (High Court Registrar General) and abuse the Court proceedings," the Bench observed.

"We are surprised as the brazenness of the petitioner now filing the present petition under Article 32, the aforesaid being the finding against him, to now somehow see that the elevation of respondent No. 4 does not take place on the account of these proceedings initiated by the petitioner," it said.

"This is gross abuse of process of law. The process of appointment of Judges to the High Court is under a well-established process where the collegium of the High Court considers recommending the names and in case of judicial officers by seniority and on merits. Thereafter, the proposed IB inputs and other inputs are obtained and the Government processes names," the Bench further observed.

The Court also imposed a cost of Rs. 5 lakh upon the petitioner. It said, "We are of the view that appropriate imposition of costs seems to be the only solution. We thus dismiss the writ petition with costs of Rs 5 lakh to be deposited with the Supreme Court Advocates On Record Welfare Fund within four weeks". "We also think it appropriate that the Bar Council of Telangana examines the conduct of the petitioner as a member of the 'Noble Profession' and for that purpose, a copy of the order be sent to the Bar Council of Telangana," the Bench added.

The three-member Supreme Court collegium in a meeting held on August 17 had approved the proposal for the elevation of six judicial officers as Judges of the Telangana High Court including Venkateswar Reddy.

The plea filed by Advocate B. Sailesh Saxena had sought directions to the Centre, Telangana government and Registrar (Vigilance & Administration) of the High Court of Telangana to consider the representation submitted by him and take the necessary action as per law before proceeding further with the proposal of appointment of Venkateswar Reddy as a Judge of the Telangana High Court.

He made several allegations against the High Court Registrar General and stated that the recommendation for elevation should not be processed. The petitioner's Advocate, in his plea, claimed that he was a legal advisor for the family of an MP belonging to the Telugu Desam Party and legal counsel for other politically connected persons and alleged that an FIR at the instance of the Registrar was filed on July 31, 2017, in pursuance to a direction issued by the High Court with a view to harass him.

However, the Bench clarified, "Registrar General, as a responsible officer, only followed the direction passed by the High Court Judge. The High Court opined that what the petitioner was attempting to do was to seek an investigation into the allegation that the evidence collected by the investigating officer in criminal complaints filed against him was fabricated and that was found to be nothing but a deflection towards derailing the course of investigation in the complaints lodged against the petitioner."

With inputs from PTI