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The Gujarat High Court Advocates Association (GHCAA) today resolved to file a petition challenging the recommendation to transfer Justice Akil Kureshi to the Bombay High Court.
The GHCAA has also resolved to go on indefinite strike in protest of Justice Kureshi’s transfer.
The Association convened an extraordinary general meeting today at 1:50 pm under the stewardship of GHCAA President Yatin Oza.
In a resolution passed on October 29, the Supreme Court Collegium had recommended the transfer of Justice Kureshi to the Bombay High Court. While the reasons for this recommendation remain unclear, the Collegium resolution states that the same was made “in the interest of better administration of justice”.
Speaking to Bar & Bench, Senior Advocate and GHCAA President Yatin Oza termed the move to transfer Justice Kureshi “absolutely unfair”.
“Never in my 17 years as President of the GHCAA have I seen such high attendance at a meeting. People were furious; they could not contain their emotions. Their anger was not towards the government, but against the members of the [Supreme Court] Collegium.
He [Justice Kureshi] is a judge who has done no wrong. The members of the Bar believe that the Collegium should have taken a closer look, because materials put forward by [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi and [BJP President Amit] Shah would be to their convenience.
He [Justice Kureshi] gave two days remand to Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin case. When [then Chief Minister of Gujarat] Modi did not appoint a Lokayukta (in Gujarat) for ten years, he upheld the order of the Governor appointing a Lokayukta. They did not like these two orders.
I personally feel that the Collegium is not a part [of the Judiciary], it is an administrative body. Therefore, I take the liberty to say that have shown themselves to be spineless.
The message sent is, ‘Judges beware. Do anything against Modi or Shah, you will be punished and taught a lesson’.
Amit Shah decided that he will not let Justice Kureshi become Acting Chief Justice of the High Court even for a day. If the materials [before the Collegium] are released to the public, all this will become clear. This is not just Yatin Oza speaking, ask any member of the Bar. Speaking for myself, I have no grievance against the government, because every government is going to do these things. It is the Collegium’s approach that I have a problem with.
For the past five years, I have fought for the supremacy of Collegium and might of Collegium. Today I feel it was the biggest mistake of my life. Collegium is the worst system, instead it is better that the Executive decides appointment of judges so that decisions are open to challenge and criticism. If the the Collegium exhibits serviant and slavish attitude by succumbing to the will and wish of the Executive, it is better that the Executive itself carries out the task of appointing judges.”
Oza also revealed that the GHCAA resolved to go on indefinite strike and has requested all bar associations throughout the state of Gujarat to join.
Justice Akil Kureshi, who is the second senior-most judge of the Gujarat High Court, joined the Bar and started legal practice in July 1983. He was appointed as an additional judge of the High Court in March 2004, and was confirmed as permanent Judge on August 12, 2005.
Read the statement issued by GHCAA: