Transfer of two HC judges: Govt sends file back to SC collegium

Sources said the government reached out to CJ Thakur several times to get the collegium to rescind the transfer recommendations but he refused to play along.

Written by Maneesh Chhibber | New Delhi | Published:February 28, 2017 4:14 am
supreme court, SC collegium judges appointnemt, judges transfer, central government, bjp government, bjp, narendra modi, pm modi, supreme court judges Supreme Court

After sitting on the recommendation made by the Supreme Court collegium to transfer one High Court chief justice and two High Court judges, the Narendra Modi government has quietly sent back the recommendations with regard to two High Court judges to Chief Justice of India J S Khehar for reconsideration by the collegium. In another development, the SC collegium’s move to transfer Tripura HC Chief Justice T Vaiphei to Hyderabad HC as CJ has also run into rough weather with Chief Justice Vaiphei expressing his disinclination to move to Hyderabad over language concerns. He is learnt to have told the collegium that since he is from the North-East, he wants to serve in the region. He was appointed CJ of Tripura HC last September 21. The SC collegium is learnt to have decided to take back its recommendation about him since a judge can’t be transferred twice without his consent.

The transfer of Uttarakhand High Chief Justice K M Joseph as Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court; Justice Valmiki Mehta of the Delhi High Court to the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana High Court and Justice M R Shah of the Gujarat High Court to the Madhya Pradesh High Court was recommended separately by the Supreme Court collegium early last year but the Centre sat on the files without offering any explanation. The reluctance of the government to process the transfer recommendations became a major bone of contention between the higher judiciary under previous CJI T S Thakur and the Modi government with the Supreme Court questioning the government inaction on numerous occasions.

Sources said the government reached out to CJ Thakur several times to get the collegium to rescind the transfer recommendations but he refused to play along. In fact, during the hearing of a petition, a bench headed by then CJI Thakur, in August last, had threatened to withdraw judicial work from Justice Mehta and Justice Shah if the transfer of these judges was not given effect to.  Just before he demitted office, a bench headed by CJI Thakur had directed the Centre to file a status report with detailed reasons in two weeks as to why the transfer orders had not been issued. The file containing the recommendation with regard to Chief Justice Joseph is still pending with the Centre even as the Centre has shown no inclination to process it.

Sources told The Indian Express that senior government functionaries have indicated to the Supreme Court that the government is not inclined to process the recommendations as sought by the earlier collegium. There are indications that the Supreme Court collegium may transfer Justice Mehta to a court nearer Delhi. Justice Mehta is related through his son’s marriage to a senior Supreme Court Judge Ranjan Gogoi, who is in line to become CJI in 2018. As for Justice Shah, currently the seniormost Judge of the Gujarat HC after the CJ, the government feels that he should continue there until the time he is appointed CJ of a HC, which, if seniority if followed, could take at least one more year since there is at least one judge from the same high court senior to him.

This opinion, however, has not been put on file so far. In the case of CJ Joseph, who headed the Uttarakhand HC bench which struck down the Modi government’s move to impose President’s Rule in the state last year, the government is not ready to issue his transfer orders. CJ Joseph had sought his transfer from the hill-state on health grounds. With CJ Vaiphei not keen to go to Hyderabad, the transfer of CJ Joseph can still be effected.

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  1. A
    Feb 28, 2017 at 9:23 am
    SC and the justice system in general has turned into a corrupt and money making insution. People have lost faith because of the delay
    1. K
      Feb 28, 2017 at 5:47 am
      He should have told your father Modi is Maharaja.
      1. B
        Babubhai laljibhai
        Feb 28, 2017 at 10:53 am
        When other government services he has to transfer but High Court judges are stopping his transfer order.Other point is that why 1/3 of High Court judges are not transfer even though he has vested interest in high court not that only they want to continue uncle judge policy .
        1. D
          Feb 28, 2017 at 8:58 am
          Judges p orders against governments all the time. To imply that a Judge's transfer has been held because of an adverse order is not an example of exemplary journalism.
          1. P
            Purna Varma
            Feb 28, 2017 at 2:23 am
            The Government has intimate knowledge of the SC HC LC judges bank accounts. Why justice is not dispensed timely or procrastinated or dela or denied has a monetary value. Every retired judge is a Crorepathy. 5 million cases pending. Judiciary refused to embrace technology lest their inner workings will be exposed. The Prez has said the Judiciary must change. They cannot be Judicial Gods when they behave like monkeys eating the pie. This has to change for the sake of better India. The Prez has every right to interfere into both the Executive and Judiciary. I hope Sri Pranabji interferes for the sake of Indians past and present awaiting for just to prevail.
            1. M
              Mukesh Goswami
              Feb 28, 2017 at 7:42 am
              The recommendations were sent in early 2016.. only one year has ped.. Modi has so much of work, foreign tours, election rallies, mann ki baat, making fun of opposition and ridiculing everyone.. Judiciary is also taken care of by getting acquittals of Salman Khan, NIA giving clean chits to Sadhvi and now on March 8, Aseemanand will be set free.. Supreme Court shud get the message.. fall in line or else... and Indians still refuse to see the writing on the wall.. Mera Bharat Mahaan..
              1. N
                Feb 28, 2017 at 9:20 am
                There are corrupt judges are among collegium list.
                1. R
                  Feb 28, 2017 at 3:08 am
                  Now the turn of judiciary. Surrender
                  1. R
                    Feb 28, 2017 at 3:10 am
                    Scared . Cant express . Worst than emergency
                    1. S
                      Feb 28, 2017 at 4:36 am
                      Andaman and Nichobar Islands are good for individuals with health problem.
                      1. S
                        Sanjay Shah
                        Mar 1, 2017 at 7:02 am
                        now central government is the master of the supreme court ,politicans have influence the honalie judges of high courts and supreme court,after retirement making them governer and chairperson , , , ,very shameful for them. . .public lost faith in judical system, 30 years waiting period for getting justice after paid lacs of rs court fees and advocates fees . . .
                        1. S
                          Feb 28, 2017 at 8:53 am
                          I do not know any country where the higher judicial posts are given by the judges themselves. This is a form of "inbreeding". Here is once again the left overs from the Congress era, under the le: You (judiciary) let us mis-govern and am money, we shall not interfere in your appointments. The suggestion by the Modi government was transparent and balanced: An appointment committee consisting of the SC Chiefjustice, the leader of the opposition in the parliament and one represtative of the days government.
                          1. S
                            Suresh Hattangadi
                            Feb 28, 2017 at 12:50 am
                            NJAC was struck down when Justice Thakur was CJI. There were many other comments by Justice Thakur against this Govt.many of them unwarranted ,like famous 'Kumbhakarna' comment against this Govt.(within a few months of taking charge) when cleaning of Ganga was not done for decades during previous regime.There are many other comments like in political crisis in Uttarakhand state or other North Eastern states.Most of the comments were unwarranted and unsavoury.SC cannot function as a Super Govt. but has to accept Govt.'s compulsions.SC has of late become politicised which is not good.Now SC is getting back reaction from Govt.Some may have applauded SC for their comments against this Govt.but the fact remains that SC has been overreaching its mandate.
                            1. S
                              Mar 1, 2017 at 5:48 am
                              Delay is by the government, though? Should lose faith in the government?
                              1. J
                                Feb 28, 2017 at 3:17 am
                                Both of them are trying to break this dead lock, but unable to do so as ego of each comes in front.
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