Senior Advocate Aditya Sondhi has withdrawn his consent for his elevation to the post of Karnataka High Court judge, reported Bar and Bench. He was recommended for the position a year ago.

“On February 4, I had written to the Collegium in light of the fact that it has been a year since my recommendation and five months since the reiteration,” he told Bar and Bench. “On principle, I wrote to the collegium withdrawing my consent.”

The Supreme Court collegium on February 4, 2021 had recommended Sondhi, Rajendra Badamikar and Khazi Jayabunnisa Mohiuddin for the judges’ post of the Karnataka High Court. While Badamikar and Mohiuddin were appointed on March 25 last year, Sondhi was not.

His name was again recommended by the collegium following a meeting on September 1.

Sondhi became a senior advocate in June 2014. He is a graduate of the National Law School of India University, Bengaluru and has received a PhD in political science from the Mysore University.

In 2016, he was appointed as the additional advocate general for the Karnataka government.

Judicial appointments in India inovlve both judges and the government. A committee of judges known as the collegium recommends names for the posts and the government is generally expected to approve them. This process is governed by a Memorandum of Procedure.

However, at times the process runs into difficulties when the government refuses to appoint a judge recommended by the collegium.

The Supreme Court has acknowledged that the executive has a role to play in judicial appointments. However, it has also clarified through judgements that the collegium has the primacy in these appointments.

If there is a disagreement between the collegium and the executive, and the collegium still wants to go ahead with the appointment, the executive must accept it as “healthy convention”, the Supreme Court has said.

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