The Supreme Court collegium has recommended to the government eight names for appointment as chief justices of various High Courts across the country, PTI reported on Friday. It has also recommended the transfer of at least four current chief justices of High Courts.
The collegium headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana and comprising Justices UU Lalit and AM Khanwilkar met on Thursday and Friday to take a decision in the matter, an unidentified official told PTI.
The collegium has recommended that Acting Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court Justice Rajesh Bindal be transferred as the chief justice of Allahabad High Court. In June, the Bar Council of West Bengal had written to Ramana, seeking Bindal’s removal. The council accused Bindal of being partial and unfair.
Besides Justice Bindal, the collegium has recommended Justices Prakash Srivastava, Prashant Kumar Mishra, Ritu Raj Awasthi, Satish Chandra Sharma, Ranjit V More, Aravind Kumar and RV Malimath to the Centre for appointing them as chief justices of different High Courts, according to PTI.
Srivastava is the second senior most judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court and was recommended for appointment as chief justice of Calcutta High Court. Mishra’s name has been recommended for appointment as chief justice of Andhra High Court, while Awasthi was recommended for elevation as chief justice of Karnataka High Court.
Justice Akil Kureshi, currently the chief justice of the Tripura High Court and the second-most senior High Court judge in the country, has been recommended to be transferred as the chief justice of the Rajasthan High Court, The Indian Express reported.
The collegium has also recommended transfer of chief justice of the Rajasthan High Court Indrajit Mahanty to the Tripura High Court and Meghalaya High Court chief justice Biswanath Somadder to the Sikkim High Court, according to PTI.
Doubts were raised about the current system of judicial appointments after the Supreme Court collegium in August did not even propose Kureshi’s name for appointment as a judge of the apex court.
In 2018, with the post of chief justice of the Gujarat high court vacant, Kureshi was expected to be promoted. However, he was hurriedly shunted to the Bombay High Court by the Supreme Court collegium.
In 2019, the collegium recommended that he become the chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. Widely seen to be disliked by the Modi government because of two key verdicts given by him against the dispensation in 2010 and 2011, the Centre sent back the recommendation.
The collegium could have, as per law, forced the government to accept its suggestion. However, it instead transferred Kureshi to the Tripura High Court, one of the smallest high courts in the country.