The central government on Friday told the Supreme Court that it would decide on the collegium’s recommendation to elevate Justice Akil Kureshi within a week, PTI reported. The top court had suggested on May 10 that Kureshi be appointed as the chief justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court.
After Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told a bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer that the Centre would make the decisions in a week, the court adjourned the hearing and indicated that the next date would be fixed on the administrative side. The Centre was hearing a petition by Gujarat High Court Advocates Association, opposing the Centre’s reluctance to elevate Kureshi as the chief justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court, Bar and Bench reported.
On August 2, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to decide by August 14 on the pending appointment of Kureshi. The top court’s collegium had recommended the Bombay High Court judge for the post on May 10. The other three judges recommended for elevation on that day were approved by the Centre within days and have taken charge as chief justices of their High Courts. However, Kureshi’s appointment remains pending.
The plea filed by the lawyers’ body stated that Kureshi’s name had not been notified even after the collegium’s recommendation. On June 7, the Centre sent out a notification appointing Justice Ravi Shanker Jha as acting chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court instead of clearing Kureshi’s appointment, the petition claimed.
The petition also pointed out that 18 other additional judges had been appointed to various high courts after May 10. It added the Centre’s reluctance to appoint Kureshi was against due procedure laid down in the Memorandum of Procedure and amounted to a violation of Articles 14 [equality before law] and 217 [ appointment of judges] of the Constitution, according to PTI.
Kureshi had been transferred from the Gujarat High Court to the Bombay High Court last year, despite protests from the bar. The Gujarat High Court Advocates Association President, Yatin Oza, had claimed that Kureshi was “being punished” for his 2010 verdict to send Home Minister Amit Shah to police custody for two days in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case.