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Senior Advocate Fali Nariman today appeared for the Gujarat High Court Advocates Association (GHCAA) in the case concerning the non-appointment of Justice Akil Kureshi as Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
Appearing before a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Nariman stated that the Central government is only a distinguished communicator in the judicial appointments procedure. He also cited the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) to contend that the Centre cannot sit on such a recommendation.
“It must not fall between two stools”, said Nariman.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that the matter is pending the consideration of the Central government, and sought more time to seek instructions.
The request was allowed. The matter is now listed for August 2.
In its petition, the GHCAA has prayed that a direction be issued to the Central government to implement the Collegium resolution of May 10, 2019 and appoint Justice Akil Kureshi as Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court.
In March this year, the Supreme Court Collegium had recommended that Justice Kureshi be appointed as Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
Further, on the day before the declaration of the 2019 general election results, the Centre issued twelve notifications clearing appointments of judges to various High Courts and the Supreme Court. This included four appointments to the Supreme Court and two appointments as Chief Justices of two High Courts.
However, there was no notification clearing the name of Justice Akil Kureshi for appointment as Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
Things escalated when on June 7, the Centre notified the appointment of Justice Ravi Shanker Jha as Acting Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court, thereby signalling that it had no intention to clear the file of Justice Kureshi.
The GHCAA has pointed out that all the recommendations of the Supreme Court Collegium were carried out and only the recommendation appointing Justice Akil Kureshi as the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh has not been acted upon by the Centre.
It is further stated that the inaction on the part of the Centre is an attack on the independence of the judiciary and diminishes the primacy of the judiciary in the matters of appointment and transfer of judges to the High Courts and the Supreme Court.