The Supreme Court collegium has recommended the alleviation of Justice Akil Kureshi as the chief justice of the Tripura High Court, modifying its earlier decision of sending his name for the post of the chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
The resolution of the collegium uploaded on the apex court's official website late Friday evening said the modification to recommend Justice Kureshi to the Tripura High Court was taken in the collegium's meeting held on September 5.
Earlier, the apex court had recommended Justice Kureshi to be elevated as the chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court but the Centre had expressed certain reservations.
Later, the Gujarat High Court Advocates Association (GHCAA) had filed a petition claiming that Justice Kureshi's name has not been notified by the Centre even after the collegium recommended his name on May 10. During the hearing on September 16, the apex court said that the collegium has taken a decision on the elevation of Justice Kureshi and it will shortly be uploaded.
The latest resolution stated: "This Collegium vide Minutes dated 10th May, 2019 recommended that Mr. Justice A.A. Kureshi, senior-most Judge from Gujarat High Court be appointed as Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. "The said recommendation sent to the Government has been referred back to the Chief Justice of India vide two communications dated 23rd August, 2019 and 27th August, 2019 received along with accompanying material.
These communications and material received from the Department of Justice have been placed before this Collegium." It added, "On reconsideration and after taking into account the aforesaid two communications dated 23rd August, 2019 and 27th August, 2019 and the accompanying material, the Collegium resolves to reiterate its earlier recommendation dated 10th May, 2019 with the modification that Mr. Justice A.A. Kureshi be appointed as Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court."
The apex court had on August 28 said it had received a communication from the Ministry of Law and Justice on the collegium's recommendation to elevate Justice Kureshi.
On August 16, the Centre had told the apex court that it would take a call within a week on the collegium's May 10 recommendation on the elevation of the judge. Before that, on August 2, the top court had asked the Centre to take a decision in the matter by August 14 after Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had informed the bench that the collegium's proposal was under consideration.
The plea filed by GHCAA has claimed the Centre did not clear the file for appointment of Justice Kureshi and on June 7 came out with a notification appointing Justice Ravi Shanker Jha as acting chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. Appointment of Justice Kureshi as chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh high court was recommended by the collegium on May 10 this year.
The association has contended that the reluctance of the Centre to appoint Justice Kureshi as chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh HC is against the procedure laid down in the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) and amounts to a violation of Articles 14 and 217 of the Constitution.
It has further said the inaction on the part of the Centre is an attack on the independence of the judiciary and diminishes the primacy of the judiciary in the matters of appointment and transfer of judges to the high courts and the Supreme Court.
GHCAA president Yatin Oza had reportedly said that Justice Kureshi was being singled out for an order passed by him in 2010, remanding current Union Home Minister Amit Shah in police custody.