THE KARNATAKA State Bar Council and the Advocates Association of Bengaluru have decided to abstain from court work for a day on Wednesday as a mark of protest against the Supreme Court collegium’s decision to transfer Justice Jayant M Patel, the seniormost judge of Karnataka High Court, to Allahabad High Court.
Justice Patel resigned on September 25 after being sounded out for the transfer at a time when he was in a position to become the chief justice, or acting chief justice, of Karnataka High Court, as the incumbent Chief Justice, S K Mukherjee, retires on October 9.
On Tuesday, the lawyers said they are protesting the “unjust transfer of an honest judge”. Courts in Karnataka reopen after the Dasara vacation on Wednesday.
Justice Patel, 61, would have been third in the roster of seniority at Allahabad High Court, and in all likelihood would not have assumed the role of chief justice or acting chief justice of any HC ahead of his retirement in 10 months, the lawyers point out.
Justice Patel was appointed to Karnataka HC on February 13, 2016 after serving as acting chief justice of Gujarat HC. He is best known as the Gujarat HC judge who ordered a CBI inquiry into the deaths of Isharat Jahan and others in an “encounter” when Narendra Modi was the chief minister.
Chairman of Karnataka State Bar Council Y R Sadasiva Reddy said that lawyers affiliated to the council across the state would abstain from work over the “injustice” meted out to Justice Patel.
He also said that lawyers have decided to ignore a call by advocates affiliated to the BJP, who sought withdrawal of the boycott, arguing that the protest should not be targeted at the Central government since it played no role in the judge’s transfer.
“This is not a political fight. We have decided to ignore the request of the BJP (affiliated) lawyers…. This is a protest to fight against injustice to the judge,’’ Reddy said.
K N Puttegowda, president of Advocates Association of Bengaluru, said the association passed a resolution on Tuesday to abstain from attending courts on Wednesday to express solidarity with Justice Patel. “The Supreme Court collegium has caused injustice through its decision to transfer Justice Jayant Patel…. This should not have been done. We are holding a symbolic protest to support an honest judge,’’ Puttegowda said.
Transfer was collegium’s ‘unanimous’ decision
New Delhi: Amid the raging controversy over transfer and resignation of Justice Jayant Patel of the Karnataka High Court, highly placed sources in the Supreme Court on Tuesday said the transfer followed a “conscientious and unanimous” decision by the collegium. The decision was taken after “adequate deliberations keeping in view the inputs on record”, the sources said.Patel, who was the second senior-most in Karnataka HC and was due to take over as Chief Justice, was recently transferred to the Allahabad High Court, where he would have been number three in seniority.
Sections in the legal community had criticised the decision to transfer him. The SC collegium is made up of five senior most judges — Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices J Chelameswar, Ranjan Gogoi, Madan B Lokur, and Kurian Joseph. ENS