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Dinakaran file back to SC collegium

B S Arun, New Delhi, June 22, DHNS:

PM not happy with frequent transfers in higher judiciary

The controversial file on Karnataka Chief Justice P D Dinakaran’s transfer has been lobbed back to the Supreme Court collegium by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, putting a question mark on the proposal to shift him to Sikkim.

It is not that the Prime Minister is unhappy over the collegium decision on Justice Dinakaran. Singh, government sources told Deccan Herald here on Tuesday, is not keen on the frequent transfers in the country’s higher judiciary. It is understood that the Prime Minister is dismayed over the collegium’s recent proposal on transfer of the chief justices of the Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim high courts. He has sent these proposals back to the collegium for reconsideration.

Sikkim High Court Chief Justice Barin Ghosh was transferred there from Jammu and Kashmir barely six months ago. Himachal Pradesh High Court Chief Justice C J Kurian Joseph, whom the collegium proposed to shift to Jharkhand, was involved in a transfer just three months ago. The collegium had proposed to shift Andhra Pradesh High Court Chief Justice T Meena Kumari to the Himachal Pradesh High Court in Justice Kurian’s place.

Justice Dinakaran’s fate is linked to the decision the collegium might take on the observations said to have been made by the Union Law Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office.


Fresh decision

It would be also a new collegium that would consider the matter as Justice S H Kapadia has taken over from Justice K G Balakrishnan as the Chief Justice of India. The Justice Kapadia-led new collegium would, however, be meeting only after July 5 when the Supreme Court reopens after the long summer break.

The Justice Balakrishnan-led collegium had recommended the transfer of Uttarakhand Chief Justice J S Kehar to replace Justice Dinakaran as Karnataka High Court Chief Justice. Justice Kehar was shifted to Uttarakhand less than a year ago, in August 2009. As per procedure, the SC collegium may, after its reconsideration, either change its original recommendations or reiterate the same, without changes. “We will act immediately once we get back the collegium (reconsidered) recommendation,” a senior government official told Deccan Herald.

The SC collegium had proposed the transfer of Justice Dinakaran, who is faced with impeachment proceedings in the Rajya Sabha, in April 2010. He has stayed away from performing judicial functions, although he continues to discharge administrative duties.

Recently, a prolonged tussle between Justice Dinakaran and his brother judge, Justice Shylendra Kumar, had reached the Supreme Court’s vacation bench. The apex court upheld Justice Dinakaran’s exercise of the administrative powers.

As Justice Dinakaran is not performing judicial functions, the Karnataka High Court collegium has not met for quite some time. As a result, the recommendation for empanelment of the High Court judges for elevation to the Supreme Court has also not been addressed. For the same reason, appointments to the lower judiciary in the state have also not taken place since. The Karnataka High Court has ten vacancies at the moment.

Sources revealed that Justice Madan Lokur of the Delhi High Court will move as Chief Justice of the Gauhati HC and the Bombay HC judge Justice F I Rebello will take over as the Allahabad HC Chief Justice shortly.

Justice Rekha Doshit of the Gujarat High Court took over as the Patna HC chief justice and Justice M Y Iqbal of the Jharkhand High Court took over as Chief Justice of the Madras HC over the past one week.

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