The Centre told the Supreme Court that it would take a call within a week on the Collegium's May 10 recommendation to elevate Justice Akil Kureshi as Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court on Friday.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer was told by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta that the Centre would take a call within a week on the top court collegium's recommendation.
"I have an instruction that within a week some decisions will be taken in this regard," Mehta said and requested the court that the matter be taken up after a week as the Centre was going through the files sent by the collegium on the judge concerned. The bench adjourned the hearing on the matter and indicated that the next date for a hearing will be fixed on the administrative side.
On August 2, the top court had asked the Centre to take a decision in the matter by August 14 after Mehta had informed the bench that the collegium proposal was under consideration.
The top court was hearing a petition filed by the Gujarat High Court Advocates Association (GHCAA) seeking direction to the Centre to notify the elevation of Justice Kureshi.
The lawyers' body alleged that the Centre has cleared the appointment of Chief Justices of other high courts. The plea had said that Justice Kureshi name has not been notified by the Centre even after the collegium has recommended his name on May 10.
The Centre, however, did not clear the file for appointment of Justice Kureshi and on June 7 came out with a notification appointing Justice Ravi Shanker Jha as acting chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, it said. Appointment of Justice Kureshi as chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh high court was recommended by the collegium on May 10 this year.
The collegium's resolution had stated: "Justice A A Kureshi is the senior-most judge from the Gujarat high court and at present is functioning, on transfer, in the Bombay high court.
"Having regard to all relevant factors, the Collegium is of the considered view that Justice A.A. Kureshi is suitable in all respects for being appointed as Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh high court. The Collegium resolves to recommend accordingly.” The GHCAA has sought a direction to the Centre to implement the collegium's resolution.
The petition highlighted that 18 other additional judges of different high courts have been appointed after May 10.
The association contended that the reluctance of the Centre to appoint Justice Kureshi as chief justice of the Madhya Pradesh HC is against the procedure laid down in the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) and amounts to a violation of Articles 14 and 217 of the Constitution.
The lawyers' body said the inaction on the part of the Centre is an attack on the independence of the judiciary and diminishes the primacy of the judiciary in the matters of appointment and transfer of judges to the high courts and the Supreme Court.
GHCAA president Yatin Oza had reportedly said that Justice Kureshi was being singled out for an order passed by him in 2010, remanding current Union home minister Amit Shah in police custody.