Justice Akil Kureshi, Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court, who was at the centre of a two-year impasse within the Supreme Court collegium over appointment of judges, is all set to be appointed as the Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court, the Indian Express has learnt.
Sources said that the decision to transfer him to a “bigger high court” was one of the several decisions taken by the collegium meeting Thursday evening. The collegium headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana and comprising justices UU Lalit and AM Khanwilkar is learnt to have decided to recommend 8 new chief justices to high courts across the country and transfer at least four current chief justices and over 27 high court judges.
Sources said that the current Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court Justice Indrajit Mohanty is likely to be transferred to Tripura High Court. Acting chief justice of the Calcutta High Court Rajesh Bindal is set to be recommended as chief justice of Allahabad High Court while Justice Prakash Srivastava, the second senior most judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court is set to be recommended for appointment as Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court.
Justice Kureshi, whose parent high court is the Gujarat High Court, did not feature in the list of nine recent appointments made to the Supreme Court in August despite being No. 2 in the All-India List of seniority for judges of high courts.
The collegium’s hesitation in recommending his name had led to an unprecedented impasse over the appointments, that lasted for nearly two years. Former SC judge Rohinton Nariman, who was part of the collegium had insisted that Justice Kureshi’s name be recommended before any other name was recommended, retired on August 12. A week after his retirement, the SC collegium sent 9 names to the government, which were accepted within two weeks.
This is not the first time that the collegium has recommended Justice Kureshi to be appointed Chief Justice of a large high court. In 2019, the collegium had recommended him to be appointed the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court, However, the government had returned the file to the collegium for reconsideration. The collegium then withdrew its previous recommendation and instead recommended him to the Tripura High Court, a high court with just four judges. Rajasthan High Court has a sanctioned strength of 50 judges.
Justice Kureshi was appointed the Chief Justice of Tripura High Court on November 16, 2019 and his tenure ends on March 6, 2022, if not elevated to the Supreme Court.