September 29, 2017
Transfers were made by the then CJI TS Thakur despite wide spread criticism.
The Friday meeting SC Collegium also decided to transfer four other High Court Judges back to their parent High Court, including Justice Rajiv Shakdher of Madras High Court to Delhi High Court & Justice D Seshadri Naidu from Kerala High Court to Hyderabad HC.
The process of transfer of Judges is supposed to factor in views of the Chief Justices of the 2 High Courts involved. In practice, however, this turns into a ritualistic formality where the CJI writes identical letters to the chief justices of the 2 HCs proposing transfer of a Judge from 1 HC to the other “in the interest of better administration of justice”.
Sources couldn’t explain how the CJI obtained the views of the CJs of the High Courts of Bombay , Karnataka & Allahabad within a short span.
The actual reason for a Judge’s transfer from one HC to another is seldom spelt out, making it impossible for the Chief Justices to give their opinion. This reduces transfers to a “pick and-choose affair”, sources said, highlighting the pitch Justice Chelameswar had made for making it mandatory for the collegium to record its reasons for selecting a person for appointment as a Judge of the Supreme Court or High Courts or transferring a judge from 1 HC to another.
One year ago, Justice Chelameswar had opted out of collegium meetings & started recording his views on files containing the collegium’s decision to select a person for appointment as Judge & transfer of High Court judges.
He had told media a year ago that a transfer was not the solution for disciplining a “bad” Judge. “If he’s bad in 1 HC, he’ll be bad in the other HC too. There’re several ways to discipline a Judge without transferring him,” he had said.
In the recent judgment convicting Justice C S Karnan for contempt, Justice Chelameswar had brought into focus 2 issues – the need to revisit the process of selection & appointment of Judges to Constitutional Courts & the need to set up an appropriate legal regime to deal with situations where conduct of a Judge required corrective measures -other than impeachment.