New Delhi: Thirteen high courts in the country will get new Chief Justices (CJs) as the Supreme Court collegium headed by CJI N V Ramana has recommended to the Centre eight names, including acting Calcutta High Court CJ, Justice Rajesh Bindal, for elevation and transfer of five sitting CJs to other high courts.
The collegium’s decisions, reported earlier by PTI, were uploaded on the apex court’s website on Tuesday. Besides Justice Bindal, who would now become the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, if the Centre assents to the recommendation, there are other seven judges whose elevation as CJs have been recommended by the collegium which also comprises Justices U U Lalit and A M Khanwilkar.
“The Supreme Court Collegium in its meeting held on 16th September 2021 has recommended elevation of Judges as Chief Justices of the High Courts, as mentioned…,” the apex court’s statement said.
Besides Justice Bindal, the Collegium has recommended names of Justices Ranjit V More, Satish Chandra Sharma, Prakash Srivastava, R V Malimath, Ritu Raj Awasthi, Aravind Kumar and Prashant Kumar Mishra for elevation as CJ of the high courts of Meghalaya, Telangana, Calcutta, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh respectively.
In another statement, uploaded on the website, the apex court provided the list of five Chief Justices who have been transferred to other high courts.
A A Kureshi, CJ of Tripura High Court, has been recommended to become CJ of the Rajasthan High Court, while Justice Indrajit Mahanty, the CJ of Rajasthan High Court would go to Tripura HC as the CJ, it said
Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq of Madhya Pradesh High Court has been recommended to head the Himachal Pradesh HC as the CJ, it said, adding that Chief Justice Biswanath Somadder of Meghalaya High Court would be transferred in the same capacity to the Sikkim High Court.
Chief Justice A K Goswami of the Andhra Pradesh High Court has been recommended to become the CJ of the Chhattisgarh High Court, the statement said.
Justice Bindal of Calcutta High Court has been in news recently due to his administrative and judicial decisions in matters related to a political stand-off between the BJP and the Trinamool Congress in West Bengal.
Justice Kureshi, one of the senior-most high court judges in the country, was originally elevated as a judge in the Gujarat High Court and has been in news due to his non-elevation as a judge of the apex court.
As per the third statement uploaded on the apex court’s website, the collegium in its meeting held on September 16, has recommended “transfer/re-transfer” 17 high court judges.
They are Justices Jaswant Singh, Sabina, T S Sivagnanam, Sanjaya Kumar Mishra, M M Shrivastava, Soumen Sen, Ahsanuddin Amanullah, Ujjal Bhuyan, Paresh R Upadhyay, M S S Ramachandra Rao, Arindam Sinha, A M Badar, Yashwant Varma, Vivek Agarwal, Chandra Dhari Singh, Anoop Chitkara and Ravi Nath Tilhari.
The collegium headed by CJI Ramana has been taking steps by recommending names to fill up a large number of vacancies in higher judiciary in the country.
After assuming charge as the CJI in April this year, Justice Ramana has recommended nearly 100 names for appointment to different high courts, besides filling up nine vacancies of judges in the Supreme Court in one go.
The 25 high courts in the country have a combined sanctioned strength of 1,080 judges and on May 1, 2021, they were functioning with 420 judges only.
The series of recommendations has been made close on the heels of a historic decision to recommend 68 names in one go for judgeship in 12 high courts across the country.
Prior to that, in a historic decision on August 17, the Collegium headed by the CJI had recommended nine names, including three women, for elevation as judges of the Supreme Court.
The names were cleared with significant pace by the Centre leading to the swearing-in ceremony on August 31 when the new judges were administered oath of office as apex court judges.
The fresh recommendations assume significance in view of the statement made by the CJI in a recent function of the Bar Council of India that it has been his endeavour to address the issue of vacancies in the higher judiciary on an “urgent basis”.
The CJI had said during the function that in another month, he expected that 90 per cent of vacancies will be filled.