Two recent events regarding Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice Tahilramani "throws up several uncomfortable questions to those in the decision making body of the higher judiciary,” the letter said

Bengaluru advocate body writes to CJI seeks transparency on transfer of two judges
news Court Tuesday, September 24, 2019 - 16:56

The Advocates Association of Bengaluru wrote to the Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi over the resignation of former Madras High Court Justice Tahilramani and the collegium’s decision to move Justice Akil Kureshi to the Tripura High Court after appointing him to Madhya Pradesh High Court. 

In its letter, the association says that these two events pose several unanswered questions. 

“The sudden change is at the dictate of the Central government is not a matter of mere inference nor is the fact the Central government for political considerations was indisposed to the appointment of the Justice Kureshi as the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh,” the letter states.  

It goes on to add that there have been other similar instances previously of Justices resigning, and that if judges of constitutional courts resign under mysterious circumstances or their transfer or elevation is changed depending on circumstance, “it shakes the confidence of the public in the judicial system and throws up several uncomfortable questions to those in the decision making body of the higher judiciary.”

Furthermore, it says that the reasons for the transfer of the judges, not elevating judges and ignoring seniority must be answered.

Stating that the perception is that the legal system is failing to act independently, the letter states: “The system appears to be bowing down to the dictates of the powers to be in the Central government.”

The letter goes on to add that it is time that the judiciary steps up and “puts its foot down on executive excess with regard to the appointment and transfer of judges and chief justice of the highest courts.”

It further added that the people’s confusion does not do any good “to the aspirations of the people with regard to the constitutional courts upholding the constitution and its ethos.”

The letter also stated that the integrity of the collegium system appears to be challenged.

The letter asks for the change in the collegium’s decision at the behest of the Centre be made public, and the cause for Justice Tahilramani resignation and the change in Justice Kureshi’s transfer be revealed.

Justice Tahilramani resigned over the Supreme Court collegium’s orders to transfer her to the Meghalaya High Court, and rejected her appeal asking for the transfer to be reconsidered. The collegium’s decision was criticised because she was being moved from a court with a sanctioned strength of 75 judges to a smaller court with just three judges.

Justice Kureshi was decided by the collegium to be transferred to the Madhya Pradesh High Court, but following the Centre’s intervention, the transfer was changed to the Tripura High Court.

Read: The Justice Tahilramani row: Former judge explains the process of judicial transfers

Justice Tahilramani transferred for inefficiency writes Justice Katju, sparks debate

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