The central government on Wednesday appointed Justice Surya Kant, judge of Punjab & Haryana High Court, as Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court.
The appointment of Justice Surya Kant comes almost seven months after the Supreme Court collegium, headed by former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra, had recommended his name in January.
The decision of elevate Justice Surya Kant had sparked a controversy after former Supreme Court judge Justice A K Goel sent a letter to the former CJI, putting on record his “respectful disagreement with the proposal”. Justice Goel’s opinion was sought by the former CJI Misra as he had served in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The nomination of Justice Surya Kant for the post sought to supersede Justice A K Mittal, his brother judge in the Punjab & Haryana High Court, who is senior to him. This was noted in the minutes of the January 10 meeting of the Collegium uploaded on the Supreme Court website: “Though Mr Justice A K Mittal is senior to Mr Justice Surya Kant in the seniority of judges of the Punjab & Haryana High Court, having regard to all relevant factors and since we consider Mr Justice Surya Kant more suitable than Mr Justice A K Mittal, we are not recommending name of the latter, for the present, for appointment as Chief Justice.