Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, who has agreed to meet with Gujarat High Court lawyers who are on strike following the transfer of a judge, said on Saturday that the strike “makes consumers of justice suffer”.
Speaking at the congratulatory function organized by the Bar Council of India (BCI), he supported the collegiate system of judicial appointments and said that administrative decisions are needed in view of the “national perspective”.
Union Law Minister Kiren Rijiju, who also attended the event, criticized protesting lawyers for trying to meet with the CJI about the transfer case.
“It may be an individual issue, but if it becomes a recurring example for every decision of the collegium, which is supported by the government, what will it lead to? The whole dimension will change,” he said.
Judge Chandrachud was elevated to the top judicial post last week and presided over his first collegium meeting on November 16, where he decided for administrative reasons to transfer three high court judges – one each from Madras, Gujarat and Telangana.
The five-member collegium recommended moving the acting Chief Justice T Raja from the Madras High Court to the Rajasthan High Court, while Judge Nikhil S Kariel and Judge A Abhishek Reddy have been proposed to be transferred to the Patna High Court.
Judge Raja was appointed as Additional Judge of Madras High Court on 31 March 2009 and took charge as Acting Chief Justice from 22 September 2022.
Judge Nikhil S. Kariel is currently a Judge of the Gujarat High Court, while Judge A Abhishek Reddy has been posted to the Telangana High Court.
Lawyers have since rioted and gone on strike. The CJI has agreed to meet with a delegation from the Gujarat bar to discuss the transfer proposal.
The justice minister said such frequent confrontations are worrying and that all parties must decide what is right for the institution.
“When I saw lawyers going to the protest… I heard some information that some lawyers are going to strike for some issues. And in the days to come, these are some of the things that we will see more often. We have to think, and we have to decide whether this is good for the institution,” added Mr. Rijiiju.
Gujarat Bar Association representatives are expected to meet with the CJI on Monday regarding the proposed transfer of Gujarat High Court Judge Nikhil Kariel.
CJI Chandrachud became the 50th Chief Justice of India on 9 November. His term of office ends on November 10, 2024. He succeeds UU Chief Justice Lalit, who retired on November 9.
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