A row is underway in the Telangana High Court after the state's High Court Advocates' Association decided to go on strike until September 7. The advocates are protesting the Supreme Court's Collegiumâ€™s decision to transfer the second-most senior judge in the High Court to the post of the 12th-most senior judge in the Punjab & Haryana High Court.
Speaking to TNM, Telangana HC Advocates' Association President T Surya Karan Reddy said, "Justice PV Sanjay Kumar is due for an elevation as he is the second most senior judge. He was due to be the CJI of the Telangana HC. So, he should have been transferred as a second most senior judge to another court, where he could have been elevated. That is the normal practice."
"Deviating from the normal procedure, he has been posted as the 12th most senior judge in another court. We do not know what the reason is," he added.
Surya Karan Reddy says that it is not the case of Justice Sanjay Kumar alone.
"It is a larger issue. What are the guidelines for these transfers? There is already a shortfall of judges in the Telangana High Court. When a person is due to be elevated, without citing any reason, why should he be transferred to a lower post? In that aspect, we are agitating," he says.
The demand of the advocates
The Telangana HC Advocates' Association, which held an Extraordinary General Body meeting on Tuesday at 1:30 pm, unanimously passed a resolution, requesting the Collegium to recall its resolution dated August 28 to transfer Justice PV Sanjay Kumar to the Punjab & Haryana High Court.
They also asked the Collegium to further consider his elevation as Chief Justice to any appropriate High Court.
"It is unanimously resolved by the members of this Association to abstain the court work with immediate effect i.e., from September 3 to September 7. It is unanimously resolved to request all the Presidents of District Courts, Subordinate Courts and their Association members to abstain work during this period," the Association stated.
The advocates also sought that a delegation of their Executive Committee along with senior advocates present the issue before the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and the Collegium, besides the President, the Prime Minister and the Union Law Minister.
Other senior advocates of the HC also sent a letter to the CJI, the Chief Justice of the Telangana HC Ramesh Ranganathan and others, dubbing the decision "seemingly punitive".
"We request that the said recommendation be kept in abeyance and be recalled. Steps must also be taken to appoint Honâ€™be Sri Justice PV Sanjay Kumar as Chief Justice of a High Court," they wrote.
The resolution by the Association also requested the Collegium against transferring judges from other courts to Telangana to fill up existing vacancies at the High Court.
The Association has further decided to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Supreme Court of India over framing of guidelines with regard to appointment of judges, elevation of Chief Justice of High Courts, elevation to Supreme Court and transfer of judges.
"We will collect all such instances and take up before the court itself. The Collegium should not be biased while issuing transfer orders. Some system should be evolved to ensure that such incidents do not recur," Surya Karan Reddy said.