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SC Collegium Recommends New Chief Justices For Bombay, Calcutta, Uttarakhand, Gauhati and Sikkim HCs

The Supreme Court collegium comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Justice MB Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph on Tuesday recommended new Chief Justices for five high courts.

Uttarakhand High Court: Justice Ramesh Ranganathan

The office of the Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court fell vacant consequent to the elevation of Justice KM Joseph as a Supreme Court judge. Justice Ramesh Ranganathan has now been recommended for the post.

While making the recommendation, the collegium noted that there is only one Chief Justice originally hailing from the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh High Court at present, i.e. Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court Justice RS Reddy, who is set to retire in January, 2019.

Justice Ranganathan has therefore been proposed to be appointed as the Chief Justice, keeping in view his “legitimate expectation”.

Bombay High Court: Justice NH Patil

The collegium has proposed appointment of Justice NH Patil as the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court.

While making the recommendation, the collegium pointed out that the office of the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court has been lying vacant for quite some time, since the retirement of Justice Manjula Chellur in December last year.

“Mr. Justice N.H. Patil is the senior-most Judge from Bombay High Court and at present is functioning as Acting Chief Justice of that High Court. Having regard to all relevant factors, the Collegium finds Mr. Justice N.H. Patil suitable in all respects for being appointed as Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court. The Collegium resolves to recommend accordingly,” it then recommended.

The collegium further clarified that it has also taken into consideration the fact that at present there are two Chief Justices from Bombay High Court, but pointed out that one of them, Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court Justice DB Bhosale, is set to retire on 23 October this year. This, it said, will leave only one Chief Justice from Bombay High Court, which is one of the biggest high courts with sanctioned strength of 94 judges.

Furthermore, the resolution clarifies that it is invoking the provision of the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) which provides for elevation of a puisne Judge as Chief Justice in his own High Court if he has one year or less to retire. This was after acknowledging the fact that Justice Patil hails from Bombay High Court and is due to retire in April 2019.

Gauhati High Court: Justice AS Bopanna

Justice AS Bopanna has been proposed to be appointed as the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court, a post which fell vacant upon retirement of Justice Ajit Singh.

Justice Bopanna is a senior puisne judge from Karnataka High Court and has been functioning there since his elevation. The resolution also states that the collegium considered the names of Justice HG Ramesh and Justice Huluvadi G Ramesh, who also hail from Karnataka High Court and are senior to Justice Bopanna. It, however, considered Justice Bopanna suitable for the post.

Sikkim High Court: Justice Vijai Kumar Bist

The collegium recommended appointment of Justice Vijai Kumar Bist as the Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court. The office of Chief Justice fell vacant after retirement of Justice SK Agnihotri.

Justice Bist is the senior-most judge from Uttarakhand High Court and has been functioning in that high court since his elevation. The collegium further noted that there has been no Chief Justice from Uttarakhand High Court since the elevation of Justice PC Pant to the Supreme Court in August, 2014.

Calcutta High Court: Justice DK Gupta

The collegium recommended appointment of Justice DK Gupta as the Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court—a post which fell vacant recently upon retirement of Justice Jyotirmay Bhattacharya.

Making the appointment, the collegium noted that at present, there is only one Chief Justice across High Courts who originally hails from the Calcutta High Court, despite it being one of the biggest High Courts.

Similar to the reasons accorded for appointment of Chief Justice of Bombay High Court, the collegium invoked the same provisions of the MoP, as Justice Gupta hails from Calcutta High Court and is due to retire in December, 2018.

Read the Notification Here

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