Gujarat Judicial Officers Promotion: Judges Seek Urgent Hearing Apex Court Agrees to Hear Plea in July

(Judicial Quest News Network)

By: Syed Ali Anjum Sadiq

In a significant move Gujarat Judicial officer whose promotion as District judges in the State of Gujarat was stayed had approached the Apex Court seeking an early and urgent listing of their plea after the High Court of Gujarat reversed their promotions.

A Bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI), Dr. DY Chandrachud, Justices PS Narasimha, and JB Pardiwala assured the petitionersof a hearing in July for those Gujarat Judicial officers who had mentioned before it seeking an urgent hearing.

The Gujarat High Court ordered reversal of the 40 officers.

The matter was mentioned by Senior Advocate Meenakshi Arora and Mayuri Raghuvanshi, AOR for the Respondent Judicial Officers.

On May, 12 a bench of Justices MR Shah and CT Ravi Kumar had stayed the recommendation made by the Gujarat High Court for the promotion of the judicial officers and the consequent notification issued by the government to implement on that the ground that the list was not pre-pared on merit-cum-seniority basis.

It is submitted that The High Court of Gujarat at Ahmedabad issued an advertisement by way of Recruitment Notice – District Judge (65%) dated 12.04.2022 for the promotion to the cadre of District Judges from amongst the Senior Civil Judges on the basis of the principle of merit-cum-seniority and passing a suitability test to fill up 65 percent of the vacancies.

The said Notification was issued along with list of 205 judicial officers in the cadre of Senior Civil Judges falling under the zone of consideration.

Justice MR Shah, (Now retired), had stayed the promotion of certain officers, promoting them to approach Apex Court for their relief.

The Petitioner’s council Meenakshi Arora submitted that “It is a matter of humiliation for them”.

The Apex Court said that the 28 out of 68 judicial officers are still on the merit-list and 40 have been reverted back.

Last week the Apex Court in its order had stayed the promotion of certain Judges in Gujarat Courts.

The Apex Court in its judgement had said that “the cadre of District Judges will be 50 percent by way of promotion (which has been subsequently increased to 65 percent) from amongst the Civil Judges (Senior Division) on the basis of principle of merit-cum-seniority and passing a suitability test. Thus, this Court has categorically emphasised the merit-cum-seniority and passing a suitability test for promotion in the cadre of Higher Judicial Service.”

The Order of the Apex Court had further mentioned that “we are more than satisfied that the impugned Select List dated 10.03.2023 issued by the High Court and the subsequent Notification dated 18.04.2023 issued by the State Government granting promotion to the cadre of District Judge are illegal and contrary to the relevant Rules and Regulations”

The Supreme Court’s order, was a big set-back for the Gujarat Government which had earlier ordered and issued the notification of the promotion.

The petition if filed by two Judicial officers Ravi Kumar Mehta and Prataprai Mehta challenging the Gujarat government’s order of granting the promotion to these 68 judges on 65% quota system basis.

Last month the Supreme Court had issued a notice to the Gujarat High Court as well as the state government. Interestingly, before the bench issued notice, the high court had recommended the promotion of the concerned district judges, and the file was pending before the Gujarat government at the time notice was issued. Eventually less than a week after this, the state government notified the promotions of the judges recommended by the High Court.

The Supreme Court stayed the promotions of the judicial officers as District Judges in the State of Gujarat, taking exception to the state government notifying the promotions while the legality while the legality of the promotion was a sub-judice issue before the court.

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