The Supreme Court on Monday asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to assist it in a petition by the Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association on Monday, challenging the “arbitrary inaction” of the central government “in withholding the appointment of” Justice Akil Kureshi as Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court despite the recommendation of the Collegium.
A bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Deepak Gupta asked the petitioner to give a copy of the plea to the Mehta’s office.
The petition contended that “deliberate inaction of the Respondent in not appointing Mr Justice Akil Kureshi as the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court impinges and diminishes the primacy of the judiciary in the matters of appointment and transfer of judges to High Court and Supreme Court”.
Stating that the “primacy of the Judiciary over the Executive in the matters of appointment of judges of the Constitutional Courts is to secure the independence of the judiciary”, it said the government’s action was “not only unreasonable and arbitrary, but also seriously jeopardizes the independence of the judiciary”.
The association was all praise for Justice Kureshi and said that during his tenure as a judge at Gujarat High Court as well as his present tenure as judge of Bombay High Court, he “has demonstrated all the qualities of a good Judge, viz. independence, impartiality, being uninfluenced by stature of litigants or the Counsel representing the litigants, patiently hearing the parties to the dispute and displaying a prompt comprehension of dispute involved in the matter” and that this “has earned him tremendous admiration and respect of the members of the Petitioner as well as lawyers practicing in the Bombay High Court”.
The Collegium had recommended the name of Justice Kureshi on May 10. On June 7, the Centre notified the appointment of Justice Ravi Shankar Jha as Acting Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court.