In a record, the law ministry notified appointments of 13 CJs — eight judges elevated as CJs and five transferred to different high courts.
The single-day largest set of appointments of CJs includes the transfer of Justice Akil Kureshi from Tripura HC where he was chief justice, to the Rajasthan HC as its chief justice. Kureshi’s exclusion from the list of nine judges recently elevated to the Supreme Court had been commented on as was the reversal of his earlier transfer in 2019 to Madhya Pradesh HC as its CJ before being sent to Tripura HC as its chief justice.
The list of 13 CJs appointed and transferred on Saturday is part of the recommendations made by the Supreme Court collegium on September 17.
Law minister Kiren Rijiju said that his ministry has been clearing all files of appointments “in record time” and that both the SC collegium and the government are “on the same page” on filling up pending vacancies.
The eight HC judges elevated as chief justices include Justices Rajesh Bindal, acting CJ of Calcutta HC as CJ of Allahabad HC; Ranjit More as CJ of Meghalaya HC; Satish Chandra Sharma, acting CJ of Karnataka HC as CJ of Telangana HC; Prakash Shrivastava as CJ of Calcutta HC; R V Malimath, acting CJ of Himachal Pradesh HC as CJ of MP HC; Ritu Raj Awasthi as CJ of Karnataka HC; Arvind Kumar as CJ of Gujarat HC and Prashant Mishra as CJ of Andhra Pradesh.
The five CJs transferred to different HCs include Chief Justices Akil Kureshi to Rajasthan HC; Indrajit Mahanty as CJ of Tripura; Mohammad Rafiq as CJ of Himachal Pradesh HC; Biswanath Somadder as CJ of Sikkim HC and AK Goswami as CJ of Chhattisgarh HC. In the past few days, the government has transferred 15 HC judges and appointed at least 16 new judges in HCs. Few more files have been cleared by Rijiju and notifications can be expected soon. The minister has instructed his officials to complete all formalities and verifications required “as fast as possible” and fill up pending vacancies in the higher judiciary.
Last week, the minister had assured faster clearance of files related to judges appointments to Chief Justice of India N V Ramana after the latter had expressed concern on long delays in the ministry on clearing recommendations of the collegium. The CJI had last week told the minister that out of 106 names cleared by the apex court collegium since May this year for appointments of high court judges, the government has cleared only seven names.