The Centre Government on Friday notified the appointments of Chief Justices in the High Courts of Bombay, Madras, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
The Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal on Friday tweeted in this regard and stated that, in the exercise of the power conferred by the Constitution of India, the President of India, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, is pleased to appoint the High Court Judges as Chief Justices of High Courts.
Last month, the Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud recommended the appointment of Chief Justices in the High Courts of Bombay, Madras, Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, and Rajasthan.
The Collegium also including, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and KM Joseph in their meeting held on April 19 recommended the name of Justice RD Dhanuka as the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court.
The Collegium resolution stated that Justice Dhanuka served the High Court with distinction since his appointment.
“Over the last 11 years, he has acquired sufficient experience on the judicial and administrative side as a puisne judge of the High Court. In view of the fact that Justice Dhanuka has a short tenure as noted above, in terms of the Memorandum of Procedure, the Collegium resolves to recommend his appointment as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Bombay. In terms of the procedure, consultation has been held with the consultee-Judge/s with a view to ascertain his suitability for appointment as the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court. The consultee-judge/s have concurred with the proposed appointment” the resolution stated.
Justice SV Bhati, senior most judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, was recommended for the appointment as Chief Justice of Kerala High Court.
“Collegium is of the considered view that Justice S V Bhatti is fit and suitable in all respects to be appointed as Chief Justice of the High Court of Kerala,” the resolution stated.
The Collegium recommended the appointment of Punjab & Haryana High Court judge, Justice Augustine George Masih, as the Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court.
The vacancy arose consequent to the elevation of earlier Chief Justice, Justice Pankaj Mithal from the Haryana High Court to the Supreme Court.
Further, the Collegium recommended the name of Justice MS Ramachandra Rao, the senior-most judge of the Telangana High Court, to become the Chief Justice of Himachal High Court.
The Collegium also proposed the appointment of Justice SV Gangapurwala as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court.
Justice Gangapurwala was elevated as an Additional Judge of the Bombay High Court in 2010. In December 2022, he was appointed as the Acting Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court after the then Chief Justice Dipankar Datta was elevated as a judge of the Supreme Court.
In the process, the Collegium has recalled its earlier recommendation to transfer Orissa High Court Chief Justice Justice S Muralidhar to Madras High Court.
The resolution noted that Justice Muralidhar has less than four months to demit office. The Collegium said that while his appointment as Chief Justice of Madras High Court was made in September 2022, it remained pending with the government.
In view of this delay, the resolution recommending the transfer of Justice Muralidhar was recalled to facilitate the appointment of Justice Gangapurwala as the permanent Chief Justice of the Madras High Court.
“The Collegium resolved on September 28, 2022, to transfer Dr Justice S Muralidhar, Chief Justice of the High Court of Orissa to the Madras High Court. The recommendation has remained pending with the government of India since then without any response. Dr. Justice Muralidhar now demits office on August 7, 2023, leaving less than 4 months’ time,” the resolution stated.
Further, the Collegium reiterated its recommendation to transfer the Acting Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Justice T Raja be transferred to the Rajasthan High Court.
While the Union government is yet to ratify Justice Raja’s transfer to Rajasthan, the Collegium insisted that his recommendation for transfer be implemented.
The pending decision on Justice Raja’s transfer should not come in the way of the appointment of Bombay High Court judge, Justice Gangapurwala as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court which has remained without a permanent Chief Justice for six months now, the resolution stated.
This report is filed by ANI news service.