Should Government process Collegium recommendations within a particular time frame? SC keeps question open
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Should Government process Collegium recommendations within a particular time frame? SC keeps question open

Murali Krishnan

Should there be a time frame within which the Central government should decide on Collegium recommendations?

The Supreme Court today kept this question open while disposing of the petition relating to the appointment of Justice Akil Kureshi as High Court Chief Justice.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justice SA Bobde noted today that the Central government has notified the appointment of Justice Akil Kureshi as Chief Justice of Tripura High Court.

Senior Advocate Harin Raval appearing for Gujarat High Court Advocates Association (GHCAA) handed over a written note on laying down a timeframe within which the Central government should decide the recommendations made by Collegium.

The Court kept that issue open and disposed of the petition.

The Central Government’s notification of Justice Kureshi’s elevation as High Court Chief Justice came through last week, over two months after he was recommended for elevation as Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court and almost six months after he had initially been recommended for elevation as Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

In May this year, the Supreme Court Collegium had recommended that Justice Kureshi be appointed as Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. Various other recommendations made by the Collegium, barring the one related to Justice Kureshi, were approved by the Centre later on.

The delay in approving Justice Kureshi’s appointment prompted the GHCAA to file a petition in the Supreme Court taking objection to the Central government’s apparent reluctance to appoint Justice Akil Kureshi as Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

When that petition was heard on September 16 by a Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer, the Supreme Court had stated that a decision had been taken and would soon be published on the Supreme Court website.

On September 20, it was revealed that the Supreme Court Collegium had modified its recommendation to appoint Justice Akil Kureshi as Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court. It had, instead, resolved to appoint Justice Kureshi as Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court. On November 8, the Central Government finally notified its concurrence with the proposal to elevate Justice Kureshi as a High Court Chief Justice.

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