Judiciary Watch: IA Ansari J. appointed Acting Chief Justice of Patna HC

Aditya AK

In yet another judicial appointment under Article 223 of the Constitution, the President of India has appointed Justice Iqbal Ahmed Ansari as the Acting Chief Justice of the Patna High Court.

Justice Ansari replaces Justice Narasimha Reddy, who retired on August 1 after a 7-month stint as the Chief Justice.

Justice Ansari was as a District and Sessions Judge in Assam before joining the Gauhati High Court registry in 1999. He was elevated as a high court judge in 2002, before being transferred to the Patna High Court in November 2013.

This is the third time in as many months that the President has exercised his power under Article 223. In May, Justice DB Bhosale was appointed as Acting Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh & Telangana High Court. The second appointment was SK Mukherjee J. as Acting Chief of the Karnataka High Court.

As long as judicial appointments are suspended pending pronouncement of judgment in the NJAC matter, this seems to be the only measure by which vacant posts of retired Chief Justices can be filled.

In fact, Article 223 is likely to be used again, with more Chief Justices retiring in the coming months.

Justice VM Sahai, Acting Chief Justice of Gujarat is due to retire on August 12. The Chief Justice of Rajasthan, Sunil Ambwani J. will also retire on the 22nd of this month. The Chief Justice of Bombay High Court, Mohit Shah J.’s retirement date is September 8 this year.

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