'Unconstitutional to hold back Kureshi's appointment'

The Gujarat High Court Advocates' Association (GHAA) on Tuesday decided to make a representation to the union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad for appointing justice Akil Kureshi as Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court as recommended by the Supreme Court collegium. The association has also decided that if the meeting with the law minister doesn't work out positively, the association will file a petition in the apex court.

The aforementioned decision was taken following an "extraordinary general meeting" held on Monday afternoon in view of a controversy brewing following non-appointment of justice Akil Kureshi, currently a judge in Bombay High Court, as Chief Justice of MP high court. The association has viewed non-appointment of justice Kureshi as Chief Justice as "unconstitutional."

The name of Justice Kureshi, who is the most senior judge at his parent Gujarat high court, had been recommended by the apex court but justice Ravi Shanker Jha was notified as acting Chief Justice of the MP high court two days back. Controversy surrounding the appointment of Justice Kureshi first started when he was transferred from Gujarat high court in November last year to Mumbai.

In November, after the then chief justice of Gujarat High Court R Subhash Reddy was elevated to Supreme Court, justice Kureshi become the most senior judge and as per the tradition he should have been made acting chief justice. But he was transferred to Bombay.

GHAA had raised an objection before the chief justice of India following which the order of his transfer was rectified and he was appointed as acting chief justice till the day he joined Bombay High Court. Justice A S Dave, junior to justice Kureshi, is working as acting chief justice of Gujarat high court.

Earlier in May, the Supreme Court collegium had recommended justice Kureshi's name to head MP high court.

Monday's resolution of GHAA reads, "The Bar unanimously feels that the appointment of Justice Akil Kureshi as Chief Justice of MP High Court should have been notified along with the appointment of Justice D N Patel as Chief Justice of Delhi High Court since Justice Kureshi is senior to Justice D N Patel." Justice Patel hails from Gujarat high court.

It further adds that "It is a matter of pride for our Bar that Justice D N Patel is appointed as the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court keeping mind his integrity and merits. But purposefully holding back clearance of the file of Justice Kureshi is unconstitutional and lacks in bonafide."

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