SC to hear on Nov 13 plea on elevation of Justice Akil Kureshi

Ranjit k. Sinha

New Delhi, Nov 7 (PTI) The Supreme Court Thursday said it will hear on November 13 the issue related to implementation of the decision of the apex court Collegium by the Centre on elevation of Bombay High Court judge Justice Akil Kureshi as the Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjeev Khanna said the matter will be listed on Wednesday and the chief justice-designate Justice S A Bobde would be a part of the two-member bench headed by the outgoing CJI.

'Post the matter November 13, 2019, before a Bench comprising of The Chief Justice and Justice S A Bobde,' the bench said.

The apex court Monday posted the matter for today after the Centre informed that 'administrative formalities' are required to be completed to implement the Collegium's decision on elevation of Justice Kureshi.

A lawyers' body of Gujarat High Court, which has filed a petition on the issue of 'non-compliance' with the Collegium's recommendation on Justice Kureshi, has been opposing the delay by the Centre.

The Gujarat High Court Advocates Association (GHCAA) has alleged that the Centre is yet to comply with the Collegium's subsequent decision of elevating justice Kureshi.

The Collegium had initially recommended elevation of Justice Kureshi as Chief Justice (CJ) of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, and later, after taking note of the Centre's communication, it transferred him to the Tripura Hight Court as the CJ.

Appointment and transfer of judges form 'the root of the administration of justice' and interference in that 'does not augur well' for the institution, the bench had said when the Bar body had alleged that the Collegium's recommendations are not being implemented by the government.

The GHCAA, in its plea, had sought a direction to the Centre to implement the recommendation of the Supreme Court Collegium, headed by the CJI, on elevation and transfer of Justice Kureshi.

The modified recommendation to send Justice Kureshi to the Tripura High Court was later uploaded on the apex court's website and it said that the decision was taken in the Collegium's meeting held on September 5.

Appointment of Justice Kureshi as chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court was recommended by the Collegium on May 10 this year.

The GHCAA plea has claimed that the Centre did not clear the file for appointment of Justice Kureshi and on June 7 came out with a notification appointing Justice Ravi Shanker Jha as acting Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

The association has contended that the reluctance of the Centre to appoint Justice Kureshi as the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court is against the procedure laid down in the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) and amounts to a violation of Articles 14 and 217 of the Constitution.

It has said the inaction on the part of the Centre is an attack on the independence of the judiciary and diminishes the primacy of the judiciary in the matters of appointment and transfer of judges to the high courts and the Supreme Court.

GHCAA president Yatin Oza had reportedly said Justice Kureshi was being singled out for an order passed by him in 2010, remanding the current Union Home Minister Amit Shah in police custody in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case. Shah was discharged in the case by a CBI court in 2014. PTI RKS SA