It was recently reported by media that the Supreme Court had stayed the promotion of the Gujarat judge who had convicted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case lodged against him..The purported stay on the transfer of Surat Judicial Magistrate Harish Hasmukhbhai Varma, who held Gandhi guilty of criminal defamation in March and sentenced him to two years of simple imprisonment, was part of the broader order passed by the apex court on May 12.By this order, the apex court had stayed a decision of the Gujarat High Court and the subsequent State government notification to promote 68 judicial officers to the post of district judges based on the seniority-cum-merit rule i.e. where seniority is given preference over merit..However, Supreme Court judge Justice MR Shah, who delivered the order, told Bar & Bench on Sunday that the stay passed by him was reported incorrectly by the media, and that the judge who convicted Gandhi will not fall under the ambit of the stay.This is because the order had made it clear that the stay will not apply to those in the list who would get promoted based on merit alone, since they would make it even if the promotion was based on merit."That order has nothing to do with one person. The issue was about merit-cum-seniority or seniority-cum-merit. The reports on social media say that the bench stayed all the 68 promotions, but those persons have not read the order. Promotions of only persons falling outside the merit list (and who were promoted based on seniority) have been stayed.I have read that the gentleman (Surat court judge in Rahul Gandhi case) is not getting the promotion. That is also not true. He is also getting the promotion on merit. He is first among the 68 in terms of merit," Justice Shah said..The Supreme Court's stay order was passed on a petition filed by aspiring district judges challenging the decisions of the Gujarat government and the Gujarat High Court to make appointments on the basis of seniority-cum-merit.It was contended that the same should have been on the existing principle of merit-cum-seniority, as per which merit is given preference over seniority..Bar & Bench had reported on May 12 that it was unclear whether Judge Varma would fall within the ambit of stay or would be eligible for promotion based on merit alone.Justice Shah has now clarified that Judge Varma would not fall within the ambit of stay, since he is eligible even if the merit-cum-seniority criterion is followed.