ELEVATION OF JUSTICE KURESHI

ELEVATION OF JUSTICE KURESHI

GUJARAT HIGH COURT ADVOCATES ASSOCIATION V. UNION OF INDIA WP (C) 841/2019

Justice Kureshi served as a judge of the Gujarat High Court till November 2018 after his appointment in 2004. Later, he was transferred to the Bombay High Court. In 2019, the Supreme Court collegium recommended him & three other judges to be appointed as Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court & Telangana, Himachal Pradesh, and Delhi High Courts respectively.

In May 2019, the Union Government issued notifications appointing all of the Collegium’s recommendations, except Justice Kureshi’s. Further, in June, Justice Ravi Shanker Jha was appointed as the Acting Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. On 3 July, the Gujarat High Court Advocates Association (GHCAA) filed a Public Interest Litigation before the Supreme Court requesting first, to direct the Union government to appoint Justice Kureshi as the Madhya Pradesh Chief Justice. Second, it prayed for the court to direct that the Union must conduct the process of reviewing all future recommendations within six weeks. GHCAA submitted -

  1. The Union is failing to follow the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) dictating High Court appointments and has thereby violated Article 217 of the Constitution.
  2. The Union’s actions are in conflict with the precedent established in the Second Judges Case.
  3. Justice Kureshi’s appointment was being stalled due to political reasons.
  4. When the office of the Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court lay vacant, Justice Kureshi was overlooked. According to the convention of seniority, he would have been appointed to the post. However, he was transferred to the Bombay High Court and a junior judge was appointed as the Acting Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court.

On 5 September, the Collegium recommended Justice Kureshi as the Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court, taking into consideration the Department of Justice's reply. In early November, the Union notified the appointment. Finally, on 13 November, the Supreme Court disposed of the case.

 

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