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[Breaking] "You approached Court too late": Supreme Court dismisses Karnataka judge plea seeking stay on elevation of "Junior" as HC judge

The Division Bench noted that never in the history of hearing such cases has the court interfered to stay the swearing-in of a judge when only 15 minutes were left for the elevated judge to take oath.

Debayan Roy

The Supreme Court today dismissed a petition by a Principal District & Sessions judge seeking a stay on the swearing-in of a "junior" as additional judge of the Karnataka High Court.

While doing so, the Bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose noted that even if the petitioner is senior, he "approached court too late".

The Division Bench also held that a writ cannot be filed in the present case.

It was further observed by the Bench that never in history has the Court interfered to stay the swearing-in of a judge when only 15 minutes were left for the oath-taking ceremony.

In the writ petition, Principal District and Sessions Judge RKGMM Mahaswamiji contended that the Presidential order of April 30 to elevate Padmaraj Nemachandra Desai from the district judiciary as an additional judge of the Karnataka High Court for a period of two years, was "arbitrary, unconstitutional and unlawful ".

The hearing took place at 10 am, whereas the "junior" judge was to be sworn it at 10:30.

On April 30, the Union Law Ministry issued a notification appointing judicial officers Shivashankar Amarannavar, Smt M Ganeshaiah Uma, Vedavyasachar Srishananda, Hanchate Sanjeevkumar, and Padmaraj Nemachandra Desai as additional judges for a period of two years from the date they assume charge of their offices.

The plea further states that the proposal to elevate the junior judge was in "total disregard of existing binding executive instructions".

Mahaswamiji had contended that his candidature, along with that of his batch mates, was ignored and not taken into consideration for promotion or elevation. The judge has further stated that his service record has no adverse remarks.

The petitioner claimed that apart from Padmaraj Nemachandra Desai, the four other officers who were elevated are either batch mates or senior to the petitioner.

In this light, it was contended that this was a case of a judge being superseded by a junior judge.

"It is a case of superseding / passing over of a senior District judge (who was appointed on 25.02.2008 under reserve category ie., Schedule caste) by junior district judge and recommendation of Padmaraj Desai by the Hon'ble collegium of Karnataka High Court is unlawful, arbitrary, and in clear violation of statutory rules / administrative instructions contained in the official memorandum dated 09.10.1985 and involved bias of malajide and it is clearly violated the functional rights guaranteed to the Petitioner under Articles 14 and 16 of the Indian Constitution."

The petition was filed through Advocate Sanjay M Nuli.

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