The CJI-led bench of the Supreme Court on Monday listed on August 2 the petition filed by Gujarat High Court Advocates Association which seeks to direct the Centre to notify the appointment of Justice A Kureshi as CJ of Madhya Pradesh High Court as recommended by the SC Collegium.
At the outset, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that the Centre required two more weeks time to respond.
Senior Advocate Fali S Nariman, appearing for the Association, said that he was not opposing the request for time. However, the Centre should divulge before the Court if it has sought the opinion of the Gujarat government in the matter as per the Memorandum of Procedure. The Central Government has only the role of a 'distinguished communicator' as per the Memorandum of Procedure and Department of Justice is only to announce the appointment, Nariman added.
Senior Advocates Arvind P Datar, Yatin Oza, Mihir Thakore, Percy Kavina were also present in Court for the Association.
The Solicitor General submitted that the matter was under consideration. At this, the Court listed the matter on August 2 for further consideration.
The Court had directed the copy of the petition to be served on Solicitor General Tushar Mehta last week.
The petition seeks to direct the Centre to notify the appointment of Justice Kureshi as CJ of MP HC immediately. The Centre's selective neglect of Justice Kureshi's file is sought to be highlighted in the petition by pointing out that it has cleared 18 files of judicial appointments after May 10. The Association alleges that the Centre was sleeping over the SC collegium's proposal to make Justice Kureshi the CJ of MP HC.
Justice Kureshi's proposal was made by the SC collegium on May 10 to fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the former CJ of MP HC Justice S K Seth.
Although another proposal made by the Collegium on the same day - that of Justice D N Patel's appointment as Delhi High Court Chief Justice - was notified by the Centre within two weeks, Justice Kureshi's file has been kept pending. Meanwhile, Centre notified the appointment of Justice Ravi Shanker Jha as the Acting CJ of MP HC on June 7.
On June 25, the Association had passed a resolution approving the decision to approach SC through writ petition to challenge what it believes to be "purposeful holding back " of approval of Justice Kureshi's appointment.
The resolution came after Senior Advocate Yatin Oza, the President of the Association, informed the association members that the Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad was not willing to meet a delegation of Gujarat lawyers to discuss the subject.