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Government asked to explain delay on judge

Elevation of Justice Akil Kureshi remains stalled for over 5 months despite 2 recommendations
Supreme Court of India

Our Legal Correspondent   |   New Delhi   |   Published 25.10.19, 08:53 PM

The Supreme Court on Friday gave the Centre time till November 4 to explain its stand on Justice Akil Kureshi, a Bombay High Court judge whose elevation remains stalled for over five months despite two recommendations from the Supreme Court collegium.

The court is hearing a petition from the Gujarat High Court Advocates Association, which has questioned the Centre’s continued failure to honour the collegium recommendations, and whose president has insinuated the judge is paying for a past ruling against current Union home minister Amit Shah.

The bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S.A. Bobde granted the Centre time after solicitor-general Tushar Mehta said: “I need time to seek instructions from the government.”

On May 10, the collegium had in its first recommendation sought Justice Kureshi’s elevation as chief justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court.

With the Narendra Modi government sitting on the proposal and requesting a rethink, the collegium “modified” the recommendation on September 21 to suggest the judge be transferred to Tripura High Court as its chief justice. However, even this has not happened.

While Madhya Pradesh High Court has a sanctioned strength of 40 judges, Tripura High Court has just 4 judges. A posting at a bigger high court is considered more prestigious.

The advocates’ association had moved its petition in early July, seeking a directive to the Centre to accept the May 10 recommendation. The petition has been kept alive even after the second recommendation, with the Centre expected to state at the next hearing what it had done on the modified proposal.

Advocates association chief Yatin Oza had in the past been quoted as suggesting that Justice Kureshi was being victimised because he had in 2010, as a Gujarat High Court judge, remanded Shah in police custody in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

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