Gandhinagar| The sequence of events leading to the resignation of Karnataka High Court Judge, Justice Jayant Patel on Monday 25.09.2017 has once again raised larger questions regarding appointment, elevation and transfer process of judges of high courts under the collegium system. A number of legal practitioners like Dushyant Dave, Mohan Katarki, and Asim Pandya expressed the opinion that an outstanding, upright and honest judge, Justice Jayant Patel, who stood for citizens, especially under privileged is deserved to be elevated as the Chief Justice of any High Court or a judge in Supreme Court.
In the past, the collegium has recommended nine judges, who are junior to Justice Patel, for appointment as chief justices in nine high courts and now, on the eve of Justice Patel’s likely appointment as acting Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, he has been transferred by collegium to Allahabad High Court where Justice Patel will become the third senior-most Judge. After facing continued non-elevation to become Chief Justice of any High Court or a judge in Supreme Court by the collegium, despite his seniority and experience of being Acting Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court, Justice Patel has resigned on Monday.
It is also believed that the Justice Patel may be paying price for his judgement including his directive for a CBI investigation into the controversial Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case.
The Gujarat High Court Advocates Association has called for boycott of work today on 27.09.2017 as a mark of protest against what was done to Justice Patel and it has strongly condemned the decision of the collegiums of the Supreme Court of India for transferring Hon’ble Justice Jayant Patel on the eve of his possible elevation. The Associate has stated that it will raise larger issues covering full disclosure of the reason of the collegiums of the Supreme Court and/or High Court with regard to the recommendations of the appointments, non-appointments, non-performance of HC judges and/or elevation or non-elevation of the judges and it will file appropriate legal proceedings before the Supreme Court. Further, the Association stated that treatment meted out to Justice Patel has the belief in the independence of the judiciary and has the potential of adversely affecting the morale of the legal fraternity and the judiciary.