SC Collegium recommends Calcutta HC's acting Chief Justice's transfer
Kolkata/New Delhi: The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended eight names to the Centre for appointing them as Chief Justices of different high courts across the country, sources said on Friday.
They said the eight names include acting Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court Justice Rajesh Bindal, who has been recommended to be transferred as the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court.
The sources said the three-member Collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India N V Ramana, has also recommended that Chief Justice of Tripura High Court Justice Akil Qureshi be transferred to the Rajasthan High Court.
They said besides Allahabad, the high courts of Calcutta, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh will get new Chief Justices.
Justice Meenakshi Madan Rai, acting Chief Justice of Sikkim HC is currently, the only woman Chief Justice of a High Court in the country.
Justice Rajesh Bindal, acting Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court who was caught in a controversy in the standoff between the Trinamool Congress and the Centre after elections in West Bengal, is set to be appointed as Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court.
The Collegium, however, comprising the CJI and Justices UU Lalit and AM Khanwilkar, has not formally notified these decisions.
Justice Bindal was appointed as the acting Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court on April 29 just as West Bengal finished polling.
However, in the political tussle that followed the election results between the TMC and the Centre in the courts, Justice Bindal's decisions came under the scanner.
In May, Justice Arindam Sinha, a senior judge of the Calcutta High Court, in an unprecedented move, had written a letter to all judges of the high court, including Justice Bindal, raising questions over the acting Chief Justice's intervention in the Narada sting case in transferring the case to the High Court and staying the bail granted to four TMC leaders by a CBI court.
On May 17, when the four TMC leaders were granted bail by a special CBI court in Kolkata, the agency petitioned the High Court in a letter urging the judges to transfer the trial from a special CBI court to the High Court and declare the proceedings in the lower court a nullity in the eyes of the law and conduct fresh proceedings.
Justice Bindal, as the acting Chief Justice, accepted the communication and stayed the decision of the CBI court in a hearing after regular court hours. Later, the High Court, in a departure from rules set up a five-judge Bench to hear all cases related to the polls.
Before his stint in the Calcutta High Court, Justice Bindal whose parent high court is the Punjab and Haryana HC, was briefly the acting Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in December 2020. His tenure ends on April 15, 2023, if not elevated to the Supreme Court.
Besides Justice Bindal, the Collegium has recommended names of Justices Prakash Srivastava, Prashant Kumar Mishra, Ritu Raj Awasthi, Satish Chandra Sharma, Ranjit V More, Aravind Kumar and R V Malimath for appointing them as Chief Justices of different high courts across the country, the sources said.
They said names of Justices Prakash Srivastava, Prashant Kumar Mishra and Ritu Raj Awasthi have been recommended for appointment as Chief Justices of high courts of Calcutta, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Similarly, names of Justices Satish Chandra Sharma, Ranjit V More, Aravind Kumar and R V Malimath have been recommended for appointing them as Chief Justices of high courts of Telangana, Meghalaya, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, they said.
The recommendations by the Collegium have been made close on the heels of a historic decision to recommend 68 names in one go for the judgeship in 12 high courts across the country.
Recently, the Collegium had recommended 10 names to the Centre for appointment as permanent judges in the Karnataka High Court.
These recommendations assume significance in view of the statement made by the CJI in a recent function of the Bar Council of India that it has been his endeavour to address the issue of vacancies in the higher judiciary on an "urgent basis". Referring to nine appointments in one go in the Apex Court Bench, Justice Ramana had said: "Similarly, after I took over, the Collegium has recommended, if I am not wrong, 82 names to various high courts."