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With the elevation of Justice Subhash Reddy to the Supreme Court, the highest post of the Gujarat High Court has fallen vacant. And perhaps as a result of miscommunication between the Supreme Court Collegium and the Central government, confusion has arisen surrounding who the next Acting Chief Justice will be.
As per a notification issued yesterday, Justice AS Dave, currently the second senior most judge of the Gujarat High Court, was appointed to take over as Acting Chief Justice of the High Court. Also notified yesterday was Justice Akil Kureshi’s transfer to the Bombay High Court, where he is expected to take charge “on or before November 15”.
In effect, Justice Kureshi will find himself in a rather unprecedented situation, where he serves at the Gujarat High Court as the second senior most judge, even though he is actually more senior to Acting Chief Justice designate, Justice Dave.
However, according to Senior Advocate and President of the Gujarat High Court Advocates Association Yatin Oza, the Collegium intended for Justice Kureshi to serve as Acting Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court before his transfer to Bombay. As per a message forwarded by Oza,
“I have been informed from the highest source that Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India has asked Ministry of Law and Justice to immediately correct an error and issue of fresh notification in supersession of earlier notification appointing Justice Akil Kureshi as Acting CJ till the time he takes oath as a judge of Bombay High Court. Hon’ble CJI has instructed law ministry to issue a fresh notification.”
Oza stated that Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has written a letter to the Centre asking that a notification to this effect be published before 12 noon.
It remains to be seen whether the DoJ will indeed issue a clarificatory notification appointing Justice Kureshi as Acting Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court till such time he joins a judge of the Bombay High Court.
Read Notification Appointing Justice AS Dave as Acting CJ of Gujarat High Court