- Supreme Court collegium asked to reconsider recommendation
- Third occasion when government returned collegium's recommendation
- Collegium sent recommendation to government on May 10
A recommendation for the appointment of Justice Akil Kureshi of the Gujarat High Court as the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court had been returned by the government, sources said. The Supreme Court collegium has been asked to reconsider the recommendation.
This was the third occasion when the government returned the collegium's recommendation -- the two earlier cases involved Justice KM Joseph and senior lawyer Gopal Subramanium.
For the elevation of Justice Kureshi, the collegium had sent its recommendation to the government on May 10. The response arrived on Tuesday, sources said.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi took up this issue on Wednesday after the Gujarat High Court Advocates' Association filed a petition accusing the government of intentionally delaying the appointment of Justice Kureshi.
The association alleged that Justice Kureshi's elevation was singled out by the government while those of other judges, who were recommended along with him, had sailed through.
The bench said the government's communication will be discussed by the collegium and a decision will be taken. Rules say if the collegium recommends a name a second time, the centre has no choice but to accept it.
That happened last year in the case of Justice KM Joseph, who, before his elevation was the Chief Justice of the Uttarakhand High Court.
The government had questioned his elevation, citing inadequate representation in the top court from other states. Its decision had set the stage for a face-off with the country's highest court and led the opposition to allege that it was an attempt to undermine the judiciary and victmise Justice Joseph, who had delivered the verdict that cancelled President's Rule in Uttarakhand in 2016.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had denied the allegations.
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