Senior Advocates of the Gujarat High Court have made a passionate plea to the Supreme Court Collegium urging it to reconsider the transfer of Gujarat High Court judge Justice Akil Kureshi to the Bombay High Court.
The letter which has been addressed to the five Collegium judges has been signed by twenty Senior Advocates.
The letter begins by expressing anguish and dismay at the decision of the collegium to initiate a “sudden transfer of Justice Akil Kureshi as a puisne judge of the High Court of Judicature of Bombay”.
Justice Kureshi is currently the senior most judge of the Gujarat High Court after Justice MR Shah who has been recommended for elevation to the Supreme court and Justice KS Jhaveri who is currently the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court.
The letter states that Justice Kureshi is one of the finest judges of the High Court who is “well respected for his intellect as well as for his dignified conduct both on and off the Bench”.
It describes Justice Kureshi as a strong votary of the independence of the judiciary.
“Even a brief look at his judgment would make it apparent that he decided without fear or favour as indeed every judge must.”
The letter reveals that there were talks doing round since quite some time that he would be sidelined due to the fact that many of his judgments did not find favour with the present dispensation.
The sudden transfer of a senior judge otherwise in line for being considered for appointment as Acting Chief Justice of our court or Chief Justice of another High Court as Puisne judge at no. 5 in seniority to another court sends an absolutely wrong signal, affects morale of independent judges and does great disservice to the institution, the letter states.
The letter adverts to how the country has in the past witnessed attempts by an assertive executive to subvert and overwhelm the judiciary since the judiciary is the only institution which can reign in the misuse of power by the executive.
The Senior Advocates then proceed to make a fervour appeal to the Collegium to reconsider its decision stating that the Institution has to stand behind a judge during times like these when an individual judge wages a lonely battle at great sacrifice and risk.
“An individual judge wages a lonely battle at great sacrifice and risk. If at times like these, the Institution does not stand behind a judge as his or her pillar of strength and lend support, it would be failing in its Constitutional duty at a crucial moment in our country’s history.”
We urge you to reconsider your decision”
The Senior Advocates who have signed the letter are Krishnakant Vakharia, Bhalchandra Shah, Vasuben P Shah, Shirish Sanjanwala, Mihir Thakore, Yatin Oza, Saurabh Soparkar, Mihir Joshi, Prashant Desai, Rustom Marshall, Manish Bhatt, Yogesh Lakhani, Percy Kavina, Deven Parikh, Rashesh Sanjanwala, Dhaval Dave, Shalin Mehta, Mehul Shah, Anshin Desai and Navin Pahwa.
Yesterday, Senior Advocate of Supreme Court, Dushyant Dave had also penned an article urging the collegium to reconsider its decision to transfer Justice Akil Kureshi.
Read the letter below.