SC collegium recommends new Chief Justices for seven High Courts

SC collegium recommends new Chief Justices for seven High Courts

In the first major development after the Apex Court declared the National Judicial Appointments Commission unconstitutional in October last year, the Supreme Court collegium has recommended Judges to occupy the post of Chief Justice for seven High Courts.

Justice Dinesh Maheshwari from Allahabad High Court has been recommended for functioning as the Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court. Justice S.K. Mittal from Punjab and Haryana High Court is recommended for transfer to Rajasthan High Court as its Chief Justice. Justice Vineet Saran from Karnataka High Court has been recommended to be appointed as the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court.

Justice D.H. Waghela from Orissa High Court has been recommended for the post of Chief Justice of Bombay High Court. Justice Ajit Singh from Rajasthan High Court has been recommended to occupy the post of Gauhati High Court. The collegium has also recommended Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee of Karnataka High Court for the post of Chief Justice of the same Court. Justice R. Subhash Reddy from AP/Telangana has been recommended to be appointed as the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court.

In case of Patna High Court, it has recommended the appointment of Justice Hemant Gupta from Punjab and Haryana High Court as the Acting Chief Justice of Patna High Court.

It was reported by LiveLaw last week that in a meeting convened earlier this month, the five member SC collegium has, in principle, decided to start the process of filling over 400 vacancies in High Courts throughout the country and 5 in the Supreme Court. It has agreed to go ahead with the process without necessarily waiting for the Centre to prepare a fresh memorandum of procedure (MoP) for fixing the eligibility and other criteria for the judges. You may read the LiveLaw article, here.

Last month, Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had effectively put the ball back in the Government’s Court, giving it the liberty to finalize a draft memorandum of procedure for appointing judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. Without giving any direction on the method of amendment of the MoP, the Court had urged that the same must reflect transparency in the appointment of judges, eligibility criteria for candidates and procedure for dealing with complaints against them. You may read the LiveLaw story here.

Union Law Minister Shri D.V. Sadananda Gowda had also recently conveyed that the Central Government is ready to consider appointment of 115 judges and regularize 87 additional judges of the High Courts already in the pipeline. He had assured that the Government would not have any “ego problem” in considering them under the existing Memorandum of Procedure as the draft of the new MoP is under preparation as per the direction of the Apex Court, which had struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC). You may read the LiveLaw story here.

The vacancies within the higher judiciary have been mounting since October last year, when the Supreme Court struck down the National Judicial Appointments Commission Act as unconstitutional. You may read the judgment and LiveLaw story here.