Justice Akil Kureshi: SC orders copy of Gujarat High Court Advocates Association petition to be served on Solicitor General

Murali Krishnan July 15 2019
Justice Akil Kureshi

The Supreme Court today directed that a copy of the petition filed by the Gujarat High Court Advocates Association (GHCAA) seeking the appointment of Justice Akil Kureshi as Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court be served on the office of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta.

The order was passed by a Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta after hearing Senior Counsel Arvind Datar.

In a petition filed through advocate Purvish Malkan, the GHCAA had prayed that a direction be issued to the Central government to implement the Collegium resolution of May 10, 2019 and appoint Justice Akil Kureshi as Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court.

In March this year, the Supreme Court Collegium had recommended that Justice Kureshi be appointed as Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Further, on the day before the declaration of the 2019 general election results, the Centre issued twelve notifications clearing appointments of judges to various High Courts and the Supreme Court. This included four appointments to the Supreme Court and two appointments as Chief Justices of two High Courts.

However, there was no notification clearing the name of Justice Akil Kureshi for appointment as Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Things escalated when on June 7, the Centre notified the appointment of Justice Ravi Shanker Jha as Acting Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court, thereby signalling that it had no intention to clear the file of Justice Kureshi.

The GHCAA has pointed out that all the recommendations of the Supreme Court Collegium were carried out and only the recommendation appointing Justice Akil Kureshi as the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh has not been acted upon by the Centre.

It is further stated that the inaction on the part of the Centre is an attack on the independence of the judiciary and diminishes the primacy of the judiciary in the matters of appointment and transfer of judges to the High Courts and the Supreme Court.

This is not the first controversial instance relating to the Central government’s treatment of Justice Akil Kureshi.

Kureshi J, the seniormost judge of the Gujarat High Court, was transferred to the Bombay High Court in November last year.

At the time, confusion had reigned after it was revealed that Justice AS Dave - less senior to Kureshi J - would be appointed as Acting Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court after Justice Subhash Reddy's elevation to the Supreme Court.

At the same time, Justice Kureshi was transferred to the Bombay High Court, even as the Gujarat Bar reacted strongly against this move. Eventually, Justice Kureshi served as Acting Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court for a short period, before he assumed his duties at the Bombay High Court.

GHCAA President Yatin Oza had lashed out at the Central government, saying that Justice Kureshi was being singled out for an order passed by him in 2010, remanding current Union Home Minister Amit Shah to police custody.

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