Supreme Court Collegium recalls Orissa Chief Justice’s transfer proposal

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The Supreme Court Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Wednesday recalled its recommendation to transfer Orissa High Court Chief Justice, Dr. S. Muralidhar, as Chief Justice of the Madras High Court.

The decision to recall its recommendation comes after a nearly two-year-long wait for the government to respond. The Collegium had recommended Justice Muralidhar’s transfer to the Madras High Court on September 28, 2022.

“The recommendation has remained pending with the Government of India since then without any response. Dr. Justice Muralidhar now demits office on August 7, 2023 leaving less than four months’ time. In view of this delay, the resolution recommending the transfer of Dr. Justice S. Muralidhar is recalled,” the Supreme Court Collegium, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and K.M. Joseph, resolved.

The Collegium said the Madras High Court has remained without a permanent Chief Justice for over six months and recommended the appointment of Justice S.V. Gangapurwala, the senior-most judge in the Bombay High Court, as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court.

The Collegium said the current Acting Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, T. Raja, be transferred as a judge of the Rajasthan High Court.

“The Collegium resolves that the transfer of Justice T. Raja as a judge of the High Court of Rajasthan be effectuated at the earliest. His continuation even as a judge of the Madras High Court cannot be an impediment to the appointment of Justice S.V. Gangapurwala as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court,” the Collegium recommended to the government.

Affirms recommendation

Justice Raja is currently the senior-most puisne judge of the Madras High Court. He was originally recommended for transfer to Rajasthan in November 2022. But Justice Raja had sought a reconsideration of the transfer, but the Collegium had affirmed its recommendation.

The Collegium also proposed the appointment of Justice Augustine George Masih as Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court. It indicated that Justice Masih was senior to Justice Raja.

The Collegium has further recommended the senior-most judge of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, Justice S.V. Bhatti, as the new Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court. He is currently serving in the Kerala High Court as its senior-most judge.

The Collegium has proposed Justice Ramesh D Dhanuka for appointment as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Bombay.

Again, the Collegium has suggested Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao, who is the senior-most among puisne judges originating from the Telangana High Court, for appointment as Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh. “The State of Telangana has no representation among Chief Justices of the High Courts,” the Collegium said.

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