The Supreme Court collegium has recommended transfer of 23 judges of different high courts, including Gujarat High Court judge Justice Hemant M Prachchhak who had dismissed Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's plea seeking a stay on his conviction in a 2019 criminal defamation case over his "Modi surname" remark.
The collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud and comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, B R Gavai and Surya Kant, in its meeting held on August 3 recommended transfer of nine judges of the high courts for "better administration of justice".
According to a collegium resolution uploaded on the apex court website, out of these nine names, four judges are from the Gujarat High Court while four are from the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The other judge is from the Allahabad High Court.
The collegium has recommended transfer of Justice Prachchhak from the Gujarat High Court to the Patna High Court, the resolution said.
On July 7, the Gujarat High Court had dismissed Gandhi's plea seeking a stay on his conviction in a criminal defamation case over his "Modi surname" remark.
While dismissing the plea, Justice Prachchhak had noted that Gandhi was already facing 10 criminal cases across India, adding that the order of the lower court was "just, proper and legal" in handing over a two year jail term to Gandhi for his remarks.
Later on August 4, the Supreme Court had stayed Gandhi's conviction in a 2019 defamation case over his Modi surname remark, paving the way for revival of his Lok Sabha membership.
According to the collegium resolution, other three judges of the Gujarat High Court –- Justices Alpesh Y Kogje, Kumari Gita Gopi and Samir J Dave -- have been recommended to be transferred to the high courts of Allahabad, Madras and Rajasthan respectively.
According to the August 3 resolution, Punjab and Haryana High Court judges -- Justices Arvind Singh Sangwan, Avneesh Jhingan, Raj Mohan Singh and Arun Monga – have been recommended to be transferred to the high courts of Allahabad, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan respectively.
The collegium has also recommended transfer of Allahabad High Court judge Justice Vivek Kumar Singh to the Madras High Court.
In 14 separate resolutions of August 10 uploaded on the apex court website, the collegium has recommended transfer of 14 judges of different high courts for better administration of justice.
One of the resolutions said that on August 3, the collegium had proposed the transfer of Justice Madhuresh Prasad from the Patna High Court to the Calcutta High Court.
"By a letter dated August 8, 2023 Justice Madhuresh Prasad has conveyed his consent to the proposal for his transfer to the High Court at Calcutta. He has, however, requested that while taking a final decision in the matter the collegium may take into consideration the fact that Board examination of his younger son is due in February 2024," the resolution said.
"We have considered the request made by Justice Madhuresh Prasad. The collegium does not find any merit in the request made by him. The collegium, therefore, resolves to reiterate its recommendation dated August 3, 2023 to transfer him to the High Court at Calcutta," it said.
Another resolution said that on August 3, the collegium had proposed the transfer of Justice C Sumalatha of the High Court for the State of Telangana to the Gujarat High Court.
In her letter dated August 5, 2023, Justice C Sumalatha has requested the collegium "to reconsider the proposal for her transfer and in the alternative, to consider transferring her to a high court of a neighbouring state i.e. Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka," it said.
"The collegium is of the view that the requests of Justice C Sumalatha for reconsidering the proposal for transfer cannot be accepted. However, the collegium accedes to her request in regard to the place to which she is being transferred and resolves to recommend that she be transferred to the High Court of Karnataka instead of the High Court of Gujarat, as proposed by the collegium on August 3, 2023," the resolution said.
It has recommended transfer of Justice Narendar G of the Karnataka High Court to the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
The collegium has recommended transfer of Telangana High Court judges -- Justices Munnuri Laxman, M Sudheer Kumar and G Anupama Chakravarthy -- to the high courts of Rajasthan, Madras and Patna respectively.
Similarly, it has recommended transfer of Calcutta High Court judges -- Justices Bibek Chaudhuri, Lapita Banerji and Shekhar B Saraf -- to the high courts of Patna, Punjab and Haryana and Allahabad respectively.
The collegium has also recommended transfer of Andhra Pradesh High Court judges -- Justices Duppala Venkata Ramana and C Manavendranath Roy -- to the high courts of Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat respectively.
It has recommended transfer of three judges of the Allahabad High Court -- Justices Rajendra Kumar-IV, S P Kesarwani and Prakash Padia -- to the high courts of Madhya Pradesh, Calcutta and Jharkhand respectively.
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