The Supreme Court Collegium led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud published on Thursday its resolution recommending the transfer of seven High Court judges. The name of Gujarat High Court judge, Justice Nikhil S. Kariel, is not among them.
Madras High Court Acting Chief Justice T. Raja and Telangana High Court judge, Justice A. Abhishek Reddy, however figure in the list.
The Collegium resolution shows the decision to propose the transfer of the seven judges was taken at its meeting on November 24.
Social media reports and news articles had over the past few days reported that the Collegium met on November 16 to recommend the transfers of Justices Kariel, Reddy and Raja. It was reported that Justice Kariel, like Justice Reddy, was proposed by the Collegium to be transferred to the Patna High Court.
The reports had triggered protests in the Gujarat High Court Bar against the transfer of Justice Kariel, whom the lawyers described as a “fine, honest judge”. Lawyers had boycotted work in the Gujarat High Court and the agitation had spread to Telangana, where lawyers had objected to the reported transfer of Justice Reddy. They too had declared strike. The Madras High Court lawyers had also expressed their displeasure over the transfer of Justice Raja.
‘Harmony and balance’
The train of events took a serious turn and Chief Justice Chandrachud had called for “harmony and balance” during the weekend. Law Minister Kiren Rijiju had cautioned protesting lawyers from making their demands “too loud” and voiced apprehensions about a future scenario when lawyers would start protesting every decision of the Collegium.
Chief Justice Chandrachud and two other Collegium judges had met delegations of lawyers from the Gujarat and Telangana High Courts Advocates Association in the Supreme Court on Monday. The CJI, according to both delegations, had agreed to examine the lawyers’ grievances about the two transfers and urged them to call off the protests. While the Gujarat High Court delegation had remained skeptical, the Telangana team agreed to call off the strike after the CJI’s assurances.
Other than Justices Reddy and Raja, the other judges recommended for transfer include Justice V.M. Velumani from Madras to Calcutta; Justices Battu Devanand and D. Ramesh from the Andhra Pradesh High Court to Madras and Allahabad High Courts, respectively; Justices Lalitha Kanneganti, Dr. D. Nagarjun from the Telangana High Court to Karnataka and Madras, respectively. Justice Raja was recommended for the Rajasthan High Court.
The Collegium also published its November 23 recommendation to appoint two advocates, Anil Kumar Upman and Nupur Bhati, as Rajasthan High Court judges. It has also recommended the elevation of six judicial officers — Rajendra Prakash Soni, Ashok Kumar Jain, Yogendra Kumar Purohit, Bhawan Goyal, Praveer Bhatnagar and Ashutosh Kumar — as Rajasthan High Court judges.
Two Additional Judges of the Chhattisgarh High Court, Justices Narendra Kumar Vyas and Naresh Kumar Chandravanshi, were recommended for appointment as Permanent Judges.