Controversial Justice Jagdish Bhalla on Saturday was sworn-in by Governor ESL Narasimhan as the judge of Chhattisgarh High Court in a low profile programme.
Being the senior judge he would be officiating as the acting Chief Justice of the High Court replacing Justice HL Dattu who has been transferred to the Kerala High Court as a Chief Justice.
The media-persons were denied entry in the Rajbhawan to cover the event. The Chhattisgarh Governor House customarily invites media for such events. Rajbhawan sources told Hindustan Times that since it was just an oath-taking ceremony of a judge and not of the Chief Justice the media was not invited.
It may be noted that former Allahabad High Court Judge Justice Bhalla got into controversy after the President APJ Kalam sought clarification from the Union Law and Justice Ministry by returning to it the file on Justice Bhalla's promotion, which in turn had sent it back to the Supreme Court Collegium, following some allegations over a land deal in Noida involving Bhalla’s family members.
The Supreme Court collegium had sent the file again, back to the President, recommending his transfer to the Chhattisgarh High Court.
Earlier in December 2006, a collegium headed by Justice Balakrishnan’s predecessor Justice YK Sabharwal had cleared Justice Bhalla’s name for the elevation as the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court.
Later, the collegium headed by Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan cleared his appointment as the Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court replacing Justice HL Dattu.