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Chairperson of the Delhi Judicial Academy, Dr. Mrinal Satish has asked to be relieved of his duties on completion of one year of service. He will complete a year in office next month.
Dr. Mrinal Satish is a Professor of Law at National Law University, Delhi, on deputation. His appointment as Chairman of the Delhi Judicial Academy was notified in the Official Gazette on December 15, 2018. The same was approved by Patron-in-Chief, the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court.
Dr Satish’s appointment has, and is being contested on the grounds that he is ineligible to hold office as he fails to meet the experience criteria laid down under the rules pertaining to the appointment of a chairperson.
Earlier this year, the Delhi High Court issued notice in a plea seeking the removal of Dr Satish from the position of Judicial Academy Chairman. The plea filed by NGO An Initiative for Good Governance contended that Dr Satish’s appointment as Chairperson was in violation of the prescription under the Delhi Judicial Academy (Appointment, Conditions of Service, and Conduct) Rules, 2008, as well as settled constitutional principles.
Although there is no set criteria pertaining to a notice period, Dr Satish told Bar & Bench that he did not want to inconvenience authorities by leaving before a suitable replacement could be found.
Rule 11, however, is clear on the fact that the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court has the authority to waive the eligibility criteria on a case by case basis. Therefore, the only question being contested is whether or not that power had been exercised in Dr Satish’s case.
Sources with access to material documents told Bar Bench that Dr. Satish had never applied for the position, and was in fact invited to take office. Dr Satish said that the case had no bearing on his decision whatsoever, and that he chose to take this step in order to get back to academics and research.