Ishrat Jehan case judge quits after transfer to Allahabad HC
Justice Jayant Patel was a judge in the Gujarat high court where he ordered a CBI investigation into the killing of Ishrat Jehan by police in 2004 on the suspicion of being a terrorist.Updated: Sep 26, 2017 22:54 IST
Justice Jayant Patel of the Karnataka high court has resigned in protest against a move to transfer him to Allahabad.
The Supreme Court collegium that decides transfers of judges shifted Patel, the second senior-most judge in Karnataka and tipped to be the acting chief justice of the state’s high court after Chief Justice SK Mukherjee’s retirement on October 9.
“I have put in my papers on Monday. The Chief Justice of India has sent me a letter seeking my consent to be transferred to Allahabad high court. However, I choose to resign,” he said over the phone from Ahmedabad, where he is spending the court’s autumn break.
If moved to Allahabad high court, Patel would become the third senior-most judge there. He is to retire next year.
Before Karnataka, Patel was a judge in the Gujarat high court where he ordered a CBI investigation into killing of Ishrat Jehan, a Mumbai college girl shot dead with three men by police in 2004 on the suspicion of being a terrorist.
The order put Gujarat police officers under judicial scrutiny. Police had accused the 19-year-old girl of being an operative of the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist group. She was allegedly on a mission to kill Narendra Modi, then chief minister of Gujarat.
Justice Patel has sent his resignation to the law ministry and the Chief Justice of India.
Rules say the President has to accept, or reject, his resignation. It is unclear is the letter was forwarded to President Ram Nath Kovind.
Sources said Patel is protesting against his “non-elevation” to the post of chief justice or acting chief justice of a high court.
He is the senior-most judge from Gujarat. Sources said there is no Gujarat representative as chief justice either in the top court or in high courts.
Patel’s resignation drew sharp reactions from the Gujarat High Court Bar Association that had criticised the top court collegiums for not elevating the judge.
The association condemned the Supreme Court’s latest move, saying it would strike work on Wednesday and challenge the transfer.
Patel began his career as a district court lawyer in Rajkot in 1979. He moved to the Gujarat high court in 1985 and became a judge in 2001. He became a permanent high court judge three years later.
He was appointed acting chief justice of the Gujarat high court in August 2015. But in February next year he was sworn in as judge of the Karnataka high court.
First Published: Sep 26, 2017 22:53 IST