The Gujarat High Court Advocates Association has decided to move the Supreme Court under Article 32 of the Constitution of India against the Union Law Ministry’s sitting over the proposal of the SC Collegium to make Justice Akil Kureshi the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
In a novel protest, the association has resolved to request the Acting Chief Justice of Gujarat to extend the sitting of all courts for five minutes beyond the official working hours instead of striking work.
The decision to move the SC and lodge a protest was taken following refusal of Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad to meet a delegation of the Gujarat Advocates Association.
The collegium of the Supreme Court had proposed the name of Justice Kureshi on May 10 as the CJ of MP High Court after the retirement of Justice S K Seth. However, the Centre sat aside the proposal and instead notified the appointment of Justice Ravi Shankar Jha as the Acting CJ of MP High Court on June 7.
The Association described the Centre’s “Purposeful holding back the clearance of the file of Justice Kureshi” as “unconstitutional and lacking in bona fide.”
The Association had earlier protested the transfer of Justice Kureshi from Gujarat to the Bombay High Court describing the move as motivated by extraneous considerations.
Gujarat High Court Advocates Association president Yatin Oza alleged that Justice Kureshi fell out of favour of the present dispensation at the Centre because of some of his adverse orders against the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and his home minister Amit Shah.
Justice Kureshi had in 2010 sanctioned CBI custody of Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter killing setting aside the order of a magistrate rejecting the CBI’s plea for remand.
In 2012, Justice Kureshi’s order in the case of appointment of Justice R A Mehta as Gujarat Lokayukta against the wishes of CM Narendra Modi too had embarrassed the BJP government.
Then in May 2018, a bench headed by Justice Kureshi had upheld the conviction of 19 accused in the post-Godhra violence in Gujarat in 2002 in which 23 persons including women and children were burnt alive.
Yatin Oza alleged that it was because Justice Kureshi had in the past issued orders against Shah and Modi that he has been denied elevation as the chief justice of MP HC.
Oza said, “The centre wants to send a signal loud and clear that judges should fall in line and that’s what we are fighting against.”