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Akil Kureshi to be acting chief justice of Gujarat high court till his transfer

Gujarat high court judge Akil Kureshi will hold the charge of acting chief justice till he is transferred to the Bombay high court, chief justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said.

india Updated: Nov 03, 2018 10:43 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
New Delhi/Ahmedabad
Akil Kureshi,Gujarat high court,Ranjan Gogoi
The clarification came even as lawyers at Gujarat high court went on an indefinite strike to oppose justice Akil Kureshi’s transfer to Maharashtra, where he will be the fifth senior-most judge. (Getty Images/Picture for representation)

Gujarat high court judge Akil Kureshi will hold the charge of acting chief justice till he is transferred to the Bombay high court, chief justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said, adding that a previous order that effectively put justice Kureshi — who will be the senior-most judge in the Gujarat HC — under a different acting justice was a mistake.

The clarification came even as lawyers at the high court went on an indefinite strike to oppose justice Kureshi’s transfer to Maharashtra, where he will be the fifth senior-most judge. The bar “believes that such a transfer is unjustified and certainly has no connection with better administration of justice... it [instead] impinges upon independence of judiciary”, according to a statement by the Gujarat High Court Advocate Association (GHAA).

Justice Kureshi’s transfer to Bombay High Court was recommended by the SC Collegium on Monday. But the collegium order also said that he will be transferred on or after November 15. This meant he would remain in Gujarat HC till November 14.

On Thursday, the law ministry issued a notification saying justice A Dave, a judge junior to justice Kureshi, would take over as acting chief justice of the Gujarat HC. The chief justice of a court is by convention the most senior.

The order triggered protests among lawyers. On Friday morning, the law ministry issued another notification ‘superseding the earlier notification’ and appointed justice Kureshi as the acting chief justice of Gujarat high court.

It seems the second notification “in supersession” of the earlier one came after the CJI took up the matter. Gujarat high court chief justice’s post fell vacant after justice R Subhash Reddy was elevated to Supreme Court on Friday.

Justice Kureshi, who joined bar in 1983 and was appointed additional judge in Gujarat in 2004, has been a part of benches that delivered verdict in sensitive cases, such as a 2002 Gujarat communal riots case and a Lokayukta appointment case.

First Published: Nov 03, 2018 10:43 IST