The Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association (GHAA) on Monday registered its protest over non-appointment of Justice Akil Kureshi, senior most judge of parent Gujarat High Court, as the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court, despite a recommendation by Supreme Court Collegium.
The GHAA convened an extraordinary general (EGM) meeting and passed a resolution to make a ‘personal representation’ to the Union Law Minister on the subject and ‘request him’ to notify the appointment of Justice Kureshi, as the Chief Justice of MP HC in terms of recommendation made by the Collegium of the SC.
The association also resolved that if nothing turns out positive even after meeting the Law Minister, they will be left with no option but to abstain from work for a day and also to file a writ petition under Article 32 of the Constitution before the Supreme Court on the subject.
The resolution as accessed by The Indian Express read, “..to the utter shock and surprise of the Bar, Justice Akil Kureshi was not appointed as Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh HC on May 22, 2019 along with Justice DN Patel as Chief Justice of Delhi HC and instead, Justice Ravi Shanker Jha was appointed as Acting Chief Justice of the Madhya Pravesh HC with effect from June 10. This is clearly uncalled for interference by the Executive.”
The Bar resolved to make a “personal representation” to the Union Law Minister on the subject and thereby “request him to notify the appointment of Justice Kureshi, as the Chief Justice of MP HC in terms of recommendation made by the Collegium of the SC”.
The resolution further read, “…if nothing turns out positively after meeting with Law Minister, the Bar will be left with no option but to abstain from work for a day and also to file Writ Petition under Article 32 of the Constitution of India in the Supreme Court on the subject,” stated the resolution.
The advocates’ body EGM was convened in the light of the fact that Justice Kureshi, who was recommended by an SC collegium for the office of Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh HC, was not appointed for the post, after a notification. Instead, Justice Ravi Shanker Jha from MP HC was appointed as the Acting Chief Justice of MP HC. Whereas, the Union Government did not act upon the recommendation of SC collegium on Justice Kureshi. This was second time that the GHAA has protested over the issue of Justice Kureshi.
In November 2018, the then Chief Justice of Gujarat HC R Subhash Reddy was elevated as an apex court judge. Justice Kureshi, who was the second in seniority after Justice Reddy, was expected to assume the Chief Justice’s office. However, Justice Kureshi was transferred to Bombay HC and made the number 5 judge.
The GHAA opposed this move and the association went on a day-long strike, following which, Justice Kureshi was appointed as the Acting Chief Justice of Gujarat HC for a two weeks, until his date of joining at the Bombay HC.