The Collegium's decision to appoint Justice A. A. Kureshi as the Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court has not gone down well among the advocates of various associations.
After the Advocates' Association of Bengaluru which had expressed its distress in this regard and had written to the CJI asking him to disclose the reasons behind some of the most "mysterious" transfers of judges, the Bombay Bar Association has also expressed its disappointment.
The Bombay Bar Association expressed its concern over the opaqueness of Collegium's decision making process via-a-vis the sudden change of mind to appoint Justice A. A. Kureshi as the Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court, modifying the earlier decision of the Collegium to elevate him as the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
The Association said that while the Collegium recommended the appointment of Justice A. A. Kureshi as the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court on May 10, the Central government did not act upon it for as long as four months.
Subsequently, on drawing flak on its laid back attitude and in light of the proceedings instituted by the Gujarat High Court Advocates Association before the Supreme Court of India, the government referred the recommendation back to the CJI with accompanying materials. Based on such "undisclosed" materials, the Collegium modified its earlier decision and recommended the appointment of Justice A. A. Kureshi as the Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court on September 20.
The Bar Association said that the material based on which the recommendation was modified had not been made available to the public, suggesting unessential opaqueness in the Collegium's decision making process and unwarranted interference of the executive in judicial matters.
Expressing deep concerns over the veiled manner in which the Collegium had been functioning in the recent past, the Association resolved in its Extraordinary General Meeting held today to put across their disapproval of the aforesaid decision. It said,
"This Association expresses serious concerns and strongly disapproves the Colleguim's manner of decision-making pertaining to the elevation of Justice A. A. Kureshi as Chief Justice of the Tripura High Court and the modification of earlier recommendation at the behest of the Government of India."
Condemning the manner in which the govt. had been controlling decisions of judicial and public importance, the Association added,
"This Association believes that the modification of the Collegium's recommendation in the case of Justice A. A. Kureshi, at the behest of the Government undermines the independence of the judiciary and would have an adverse effect on the functioning of the judiciary as a whole and the ability of judges to discharge their constitutional functions without fear or favour. This Association views with grave apprehension the opaque procedure adopted by the Collegium relating to the elevation of Justice A. A. Kureshi as Chief Justice. This Association believes that the disclosure of reasons behind the Collegium's recommendations (and any modifications thereof) is necessary, and would subserve the interests of the judiciary and the administration of justice."