The Supreme Court collegium — the panel of five senior-most judges headed by Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia — is understood to have approved the transfer of 12 judges of various high courts, most of them in “public interest” after making independent enquiries into complaints of deviant behaviour.
HT had on September 11 reported that in an unusual move, collegium has initiated the process for transferring over 20 high court judges across the country in the “public interest”.
Once implemented, it will be the largest transfer of HC judges in one go since 1993, when 50 judges were transferred during the tenure of the then CJI M.N. Venkatachaliah, following complaints against them.
CJI Kapadia had written to the judges the collegium wants to transfer, as well as to the chief justices of the HCs concerned.
Some of the judges wanted to be shifted to nearby HCs, but sources said the collegium has rejected such requests.
The 12 HC judges recommended to be transferred included three Punjab and Haryana High Court judges — justices Ashutosh Mohunta, V.K. Sharma and H.S. Bhalla, who were being transferred to Andhra Pradesh, Madras and Orissa HCs respectively.
Justice M. Jeyapaul of the Madras HC was being sent to the Punjab and Haryana HC. The other transfers are two judges each from Delhi and Allahabad HCs; one each from the Patna and Orissa HCs.
In a departure from two-decade-old practice, the SC has recommended the appointment of Andhra High Court Chief Justice Nissar Ahmed Kakru as the Chief Justice of the high court of J&K, which is his home state. The SC collegium is understood to have decided to send the present Chief Justice of the J&K High Court, Aftab Hussain Saikia, to the Gauhati HC as its Chief Justice in his home state of Assam, replacing Chief Justice Madan Lokur, who is being transferred to the Andhra HC.