A Disgrace

Justice Markandey Katju-

Justice Markandey Katju

Markandey Katju is a former Judge, Supreme Court of India, and former Chairman, Press Council of India. The views expressed are his own.

I was told by a reliable person that a senior Supreme Court Judge, who is known for his high integrity and is a senior member of the Collegium of the Supreme Court ( the body of 5 senior-most judges of the Court on whose recommendation Supreme Judges are appointed ) said that he will oppose any recommendation of Judges in the Supreme Court unless Justice Akil Kureshi, presently Chief Justice of Tripura High Court, is recommended.

Justice Kureshi had been the senior-most Judge of the Gujarat High Court, from where he had been transferred to Bombay High Court, and he has an excellent reputation for his integrity and learning. He had initially been recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium for appointment as Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court.

However, it seems that because he was a Muslim, and also because when he was a judge of Gujarat High Court he had passed adverse orders against the then Chief Minister of Gujarat Modi and then state cabinet minister Amit Shah ( and for this reason had been transferred from Gujarat to Bombay ), the Government strongly opposed his appointment as Chief Justice of a big High Court like the MP High Court.

Evidently, the Supreme Court Collegium succumbed to this pressure, and to its shame recalled its earlier recommendation, and instead recommended his appointment as Chief Justice of Tripura High Court, which is a much smaller High Court, where he was then appointed.

Unfortunately, that Supreme Court judge ( who said he will oppose any recommendation to the Supreme Court unless Justice Kureshi is appointed ) is retiring later this year, and I am sure the Government will wait till his retirement, and only then make appointments in the Supreme Court, excluding Justice Kureshi, who will be retired as a High Court Judge in March 2022, and not elevated to the Supreme Court.

Evidently, Muslims are persona non grata for this Government, as also eminent lawyers who had argued cases against the BJP leaders, like Gopal Subramaniam, former Solicitor General of India, who was not appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court despite the Supreme Court Collegium’s recommendation.