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The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended the appointment of Chief Justices to five High Courts i.e. the High Courts of Bombay, Calcutta, Uttarakhand, Gauhati and Sikkim.
By five resolutions passed by the Collegium headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, and comprising members Justices Madan B Lokur and Kurian Joseph on October 9, the following recommendations have been made.
Bombay High Court
Senior-most judge of the Bombay High Court, Justice NH Patil who currently serves as the Acting Chief Justice of the Court has been recommended for appointment as Chief Justice. The post has been lying vacant since the retirement of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur in December last year.
While making the recommendation, the Collegium made note that at present there are only two Chief Justices who originally hailed from the Bombay High Court, which is one of the largest in the country.
It also emphasized that the Collegium was conscious of the fact that Justice Patil is due to retire in April next year. Therefore, the Collegium has invoked the provision of the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) which provides for the elevation of a puisne Judge as Chief Justice in his own High Court if he has one year or less to retire.
Calcutta High Court
Senior-most judge of the High Court and present Acting Chief Justice, Justice DK Gupta has been recommended to be the next Chief Justice in place of Chief Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya who retired from office recently.
While making the recommendations, the Collegium noted that at present there is only one Chief Justice across High Courts who originally hails from the Calcutta High Court, despite it being one of the biggest High Courts.
As with the case of Bombay, the Collegium also invoked the special MoP provisions which provides for the elevation of a puisne judge as Chief Justice of his own High Court if he has one year or less to retire, since Justice DK Gupta is due to retire in December this year.
Uttarakhand High Court
Justice Ramesh Ranganathan, who is presently the senior-most judge of the Hyderabad High Court has been recommended to be appointed as the next Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court. The office has been lying vacant since the elevation of erstwhile Chief Justice of the Court, KM Joseph to the Supreme Court this year.
While making the recommendation the Collegium also noted that there is only one Chief Justice originally hailing from the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh High Court at present, i.e. Justice RS Reddy who serves as Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court. On his retirement in January 2019, there would be no Chief Justice from the said High Court.
Therefore, Justice Ramesh Ranganathan has also been recommended as the next Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court, keeping in view legitimate expectations.
Gauhati High Court
In place of the recently retired Chief Justice Ajit Singh, the Collegium has recommended Justice AS Bopanna, who is a senior puisne judge from the Karnataka High Court.
The Collegium resolution intimates that the other more senior judges originally from the Karntaka High Court, i.e. Justice HG Ramesh and Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh were also considered.
Sikkim High Court
Justice Vijai Kumar Bist, who is presently the senior-most judge of the Uttarakhand High Court, has been recommended to be appointed as the next Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court. The office of Chief Justice at the Sikkim High Court has been lying vacant since the retirement of Chief Justice SK Agnihotri.
Justice Vijai Kumar Bist has been recommended to take his place, also considering that there has been no Chief Justice hailing from the Uttarakhand High Court since the elevation of Justice PC Pant to the Supreme Court in 2014.
Read the Resolutions: