On 2 August, the Supreme Court (SC) will hear the challenge to the executive delay in confirming Justice Akil Kureshi’s appointment as the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. The SC collegium had recommended him on 10 May. The Union never responded and on 5 June appointed an acting Chief Justice, Ravi Shanker Jha.
On 3 July, the Gujarat High Court Advocates Association (GHCAA) petitioned the court to immediately appoint Justice Kureshi. They argued that the Union executive acted unconstitutionally by subverting the established procedure for judicial appointments. They urge that this subversion is politically motivated as Justice Kureshi had remanded the current Union Home Minister Amit Shah to two days of police custody in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.
The dispute over Justice Kureshi’s appointment is the most significant executive assertion over judicial appointments since the NJAC was struck down. In 2015, the court cemented control over judicial appointments by striking down the NJAC amendment, which would have given the Union a greater voice over judicial appointment. Will the court reassert the primacy of the independence of the judiciary in the appointment process?
SC Observer Desk
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