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The Delhi High Court today issued notice in a plea seeking the removal of Dr. Mrinal Satish from the post of Chairman of the Delhi Judicial Academy.
Dr. Mrinal Satish is a Professor of Law at National Law University, Delhi, on deputation. His appointment as Chairman of the Delhi Judicial Academy was notified in the Official Gazette on December 15, 2018. The same was approved by Patron-in-Chief, the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court.
A Division Bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Prateek Jalan issued notice to Dr. Satish, Delhi Judicial Academy, the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi, and the Registrar General of the Delhi High Court.
The writ petition has been moved by an NGO, AGAM – An Initiative for Good Governance. It is the petitioner’s case that the appointment of Dr. Satish is in violation of the prescription under the Delhi Judicial Academy (Appointment, Conditions of Service, and Conduct) Rules, 2008, as well as settled constitutional principles.
As per Schedule II of the Rules, one of the eligibility conditions to be appointed as Chairman of the Delhi Judicial Academy was that the candidate should have experience “as a Professor of Law of not less than ten years”.
In this backdrop, the Registrar General of the Delhi High Court issued a vacancy circular for the post of Chairman on August 20, 2018. The circular laid down the eligibility criteria, terms of appointment, salary, allowances, and other perquisites for the post of Chairperson.
The circular reduced the minimum number of years as a Professor of Law to seven years from ten years. The petitioner has, therefore, contended that the circular was in deviation from the Delhi Judicial Academy Rules.
The Court has further been informed that as per information available on the website of National Law University, Delhi, Dr. Satish was holding the position of Associate Professor in the year 2017.
Hence, Dr. Satish could not have an experience of 7 years as a Professor of Law, which is the foremost and essential condition for considering the application for Chairperson, the petitioner has contended.
“Hence in the present situation there can be only two possibilities that either the respondent no.4 in his application for post of chairperson, DJA, provided false information for which respondent no.4 liable to be penalised or the search committee closed its eyes to the ineligibility of the respondent no.4 for the post of chairperson, DJA.”
The petition has also raised objections against the non-speaking order passed by the Search Committee. It has stated that the Committee did not accord any reason for breaching the eligibility criteria for the appointment of Dr. Satish.
The petitioner has, therefore, sought Dr. Satish’s removal from the post on the ground that the appointment was illegal, arbitrary, unjustified and null and void.
The oetitioner was represented by Advocates Isha Garg and Ashutosh Mishra. The matter will be next heard on August 6.