8 May 2023 2:28 PM GMT
The Supreme Court, on Monday, reserved order in a petition challenging the recommendations for the promotion of the District Judges in Gujarat. After hearing Senior Advocate, R Basant appearing for the petitioners; Advocate, Nikhil Goel, appearing for the Gujarat High Court; Senior Advocate, Dushyant Dave and Senior Advocate, Meenakshi Arora appearing on behalf of the other respondents, a...
The Supreme Court, on Monday, reserved order in a petition challenging the recommendations for the promotion of the District Judges in Gujarat.
After hearing Senior Advocate, R Basant appearing for the petitioners; Advocate, Nikhil Goel, appearing for the Gujarat High Court; Senior Advocate, Dushyant Dave and Senior Advocate, Meenakshi Arora appearing on behalf of the other respondents, a Bench comprising Justice MR Shah and Justice CT Ravikumar reserved the order.
Previously, the Apex Court strongly deprecated the conduct of the Gujarat Government in notifying the promotions of the District Judges when the issue pertaining to the promotion was sub-judice before the Supreme Court.
The petitioners’ case is that as per the Recruitment Rules, the post of District Judge is to be filled up by keeping 65% reservation on merit-cum-seniority basis and upon passing a suitability test. They alleged that appointments have been made by a notification dated 10.03.2023, in contravention of this principle. The appointments appear to be made on the basis of seniority-cum-merit. Both of the petitioners submitted that they have secured more marks (one had secured the highest marks) than the candidates who have been appointed. On the basis of the petitioners’ submissions, the Court had issued notice to the Gujarat High Court and the Gujarat Government on 13.04.2023.
It appears that the High Court had recommended the promotion before notice was issued by the Apex Court.
On 13.04.2023, when the Court had issued notice, the file was pending before the State Government. Post the issuance of notice, the State Government, on 18.04.2023, notified the promotions of District Judges. As the Court was apprised of the same, it directed the Secretary of the State Government to be present on the next date of hearing to explain the extraordinary urgency shown in the matter in giving promotion and issuing the notification dated 18.04.2023. The bench led by Justice Shah took stern exception to the conduct of the State Government and termed it as an ‘overreach of the Court’s process’. Justice Shah even asked the High Court to disclose the entire merit list. He reckoned that the High Court and the State Government should have stayed their hands and refrained from notifying the promotion, considering the fact that the matter was pending before the High Court.
On the last date of hearing, in the presence of the Secretary of the State, Justice Shah interrogated Deepanwita Priyanka, the counsel for the State of Gujarat, demanding an explanation for the State’s decision to notify promotions when the matter was already pending before the Supreme Court.
The order in this matter can be expected soon, as Justice Shah is retiring on May 15.
[Case Title: Ravikumar Dhansukhlal Maheta And Anr. v. High Court of Gujarat And Ors. WP(C) No. 432/2023]
Click Here To Read/Download Order