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SC Collegium recommends elevation of 8 judges as Chief Justices of various High Courts

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With the Supreme Court Collegium recommending the elevation of 8 judges as Chief Justices of various High Courts, here are short profiles of the 8 senior Judges.

Justice Ranjit Vasantrao More

Justice Ranjit Vasantrao

The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended the name of Justice Ranjit Vasantrao More for elevation as the Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court.

Justice Ranjit Vasantrao More was born on November 4, 1959 and hails from Nimsod, Tq. Khatau, District Satara (Maharashtra). He did his schooling at Nimsod, district Satara and B.A. (Hons.) from Kolhapur and obtained Law Degree from Sangli. He stood 2nd in order of merit of Shivaji University, Kolhapur in LL.B. He was also awarded National Merit Scholarship for prosecuting further studies. He did his LL.M. from Mumbai University.

Thereafter, he enrolled as an Advocate on 15th September, 1983 and joined chamber of A.P. Shah (former Chief Justice of Chennai and Delhi High Court). He mainly practised at Appellate Side of High Court of Bombay. He appeared in several Constitutional, Civil and Criminal matters on behalf of Municipal Council, Municipal Corporations, District Central Cooperative Banks, Sugar Factories, Election Commission and Maharashtra Public Service Commission. He appeared in several important matters and also in PILs.

He was elevated as Judge of the Bombay High Court on 8th September, 2006. His Lordship was transferred to the High Court of Meghalaya and took oath as Judge on 9th March 2020. 

A bench led by Justice More passed an order directing Rakesh and Sarang Wadhawan, promoters of HDIL, to be moved from Arthur Road Jail to their Bandra residence to ensure cooperation with an HC-appointed committee for disposal of HDIL assets on priority. Justice More passed the order in a PIL seeking public auction of HDIL assets mortgaged with crisis-hit PMC Bank. However, the SC stayed the order of moving the Wadhawans out of jail.

A bench led by Justice More granted interim relief to IL&FS’s former auditors Deloitte Haskins and BSR & Associates (KPMG arm) and prevented the government from taking coercive action against them in criminal proceedings. The HC also stayed proceedings to ban the auditors for five years for alleged connivance in the IL&FS scam. The same month, Justice More held that illegal tapping of phone calls violates privacy rights and held that interception of calls is permitted only in case of public emergency and safety.

On September 13 last year, he turned down a plea by Gautam Navlakha, accused in the Elgaar Parishad case, seeking to quash the FIR filed against him by Pune police. A bench of Justice More and Justice Bharati Dangre, in June last year, upheld the Maharashtra government’s decision to provide reservation to the Maratha community under the Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (SEBC) Act, 2018. The court, however, reduced the 16 per cent quota granted by the state in education and government jobs to 12 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively.

In December 2017, a bench of Justice More and Justice Sadhana Jadhav granted relief to former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and set aside then Governor Vidyasagar

In his judgment confirming the death penalty awarded to a man convicted for rape and murder of a 23-year-old techie, Justice Ranjit V More emphasized on assuring safety and security to the womenfolk in the country and said- The judiciary cannot be expected to be a mute spectator in the entire scenario when neither a young girl child of two years or a woman of 70 years feel safe in this country. We cannot shut our eyes to the cases reported day-in and day-out about such young girls and women being raped and victimized.

Also Read: Supreme Court issues notice in plea challenging reservation for OBC, EWS within All India Quota for post-graduate medical courses

In another case, Justice More quashed the FIR against Poonam Agarwal, Associate Editor of The Quint. It held in the case of suicide of a jawan that it was the fear of court martial that led to the result and not the sting video which was carried out by the journalist on the Sahayak System.

Justice More owns a strong clearance rate of cases and has presided over a number of cases of public importance. As a judge of Bombay HC and Meghalaya HC, he left no stone unturned in his performance as public servant and a revered jurist.

Justice Satish Chandra Sharma

Justice Satish Chandra Sharma

The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended the name of Justice Satish Chandra Sharma for elevation as the Chief Justice of Telangana High Court.

Born on 30th November, 1961 at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, Justice Sharma’s father, Dr. B. N. Sharma was a well-established agriculturalist, apart from being a well renowned professor of Jabalpur University and subsequently the Vice Chancellor of Barkatullah University, Bhopal. His mother Shanti Sharma was the Principal in Maharani Lakshmibai Higher Secondary School and worked as District Education Officer at Jabalpur before retirement. 

Justice Sharma started his schooling from Christ Church Boys Higher Secondary School and passed 10th standard and 12th standard from Central School, Jabalpur. Thereby, he enrolled as a student of Bachelor of Science in 1979 at Dr. Hari Singh Gour University, Sagar. He secured his degree of Bachelor of Science in the year 1981 with distinction in three subjects. Later, he was awarded a National Merit Scholarship for Post Graduate Studies. After his graduation in Science, he enrolled as a student of law in Dr. Hari Singh Gour University, Sagar in 1981. Yet again, he graduated on top of the class and obtained LL.B. degree in 1984 with three university Gold Medals. 

He began his professional career with enrolment as an advocate on 01-09- 1984. He practiced in Constitutional, Service, Civil and Criminal matters before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Jabalpur. In 1993, he was appointed as Additional Central Government Counsel on 28-05- 1993 and was appointed senior panel counsel by Government of India on 28-06- 2004. Thereafter, in 2003, he was designated as a Senior Advocate by the High Court of Madhya Pradesh at the young age of 42, to become one of the youngest senior advocates of Madhya Pradesh High Court. In January 2008, Justice Sharma was elevated as Judge of Madhya Pradesh High Court and was appointed as a permanent judge in 2010. 

Justice Sharma is an avid reader and is also known for his contributions to various Universities. He has been associated with various National Law universities. He was also on the Advisory Board of National Law Institute University, Bhopal and has published numerous research articles and papers. 

On transfer to Karnataka High Court, His Lordship took oath as Judge of Karnataka High Court on 04.01.2021 and assumed charge as the Acting Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court on 31.08.2021. His date of retirement as on Department of Justice website is 29 November 2023. 

Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi 

Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi

The Supreme Court Collegium recommended name of Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi for elevation as the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court. 

This recommendation has been made on the elevation of earlier Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka to the Supreme Court.

Presently, he is serving as a Judge of Allahabad High Court and sits at Lucknow, division bench of Allahabad High Court.

He is the Senior Most judge of the Lucknow Bench and on the 4th position of total judges at Allahabad High Court. His retirement date is July 02, 2022.

Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi was born on July 03, 1960. He Graduated in Law from Lucknow University in the year 1986. After getting enrolled as an Advocate on Feb 01, 1987 he started Practicing in Civil, Service, Educational matters at Lucknow Bench, Allahabad High Court.

He has worked as Asst. Solicitor General of India at Lucknow before elevation. He was elevated as Additional Judge on Apr 13, 2009 and took oath as permanent Judge on Dec 24, 2010.

Justice Rajesh Bindal 

Justice Rajesh Bindal

The Supreme Court Collegium recommended name of Justice Rajesh Bindal for elevation as the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court.

The Collegium of Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice of India, NV Ramana, Justice UU Lalit, Justice AM Khanwilkar notified about the appointment of some Chief Justices of High Courts and transfer of some High Court judges. 

Background and Career

Justice Rajesh Bindal was born on 16th April 1961 at Ambala City, who is currently serving as acting Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court appointed by President of India. He completed his LLM from Kurushetra University in 1985 andstarting practicing at High Court of Punjab & Haryana. He represented Chandigarh Administration before Central Administrative Tribunal for more than a decade till 2004. In settlement of the dispute concerning Satluj Yamuna Water with State of Punjab before Eradi Tribunal and the Supreme Court of India, he remained on behalf of the State of Haryana. He also represented Income-tax Department, Haryana region before the High Court.Justice Rajesh Bindal was appointed as a judge of Punjab & Haryana High Court in 2006. 

Being Chairman of a multi-member Committee constituted by Ministry of Women and Child Development to study Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Bill, 2016, he submitted report accompanied by the recommendations and draft of the Protection of Children (Inter-Country Removal and Retention) Bill, 2018 to the Ministry in April 2018. 

Before his transfer to High Court of Jammu and Kashmir in 2018, he was heading various Committees including Computer Committee, Arrears Committee. During his tenure in Punjab and Haryana High Court, he disposed of around 80,000 cases.

Before his transfer to High Court at Calcutta he was the Chairman of the Finance Committee, Building and Infrastructure Committee, Information Technology Committee, State Court Management Systems Committee and Committee constituted for conducting assessment for optimal use of technology by NALSA and the State Legal Services Authorities including use of Artificial Intelligence in the High Court and also Chairman of J&K State Legal Service Authority.

Controversies 

The Bar Council of West Bengal has appealed to the Chief Justice of India for the removal of Justice Rajesh Bindal on grounds of “interference in fair and impartial dispensation of justice”.

Justice Bindal held in the controversy in regard with the Political results between TMC and the Centre in the court. Justice Arindam Sinha, a senior judge of the Calcutta High Court had written a letter to all judges of the High Court, including Justice Bindal, raising questions over the acting Chief Justice’s intervention in the Narada sting case in transferring the case to the HC and staying the bail granted to four TMC leaders by a CBI court.

Judgements 

Punjab Scheduled Caste and Backward Classes (Reservation in Services) Act, 2006 case. 

Justice Rajesh Bindal was on the two judge bench along with Justice B.S. Walia which quashed provisions in law enacted by the Punjab government which gave reservation in promotion to Scheduled Caste (SC) employees of the state in 2006. It gave 20% reservation in group C and D category and 14% in group A and Group B. 

Justice Bindal is among the 5 judges bench of Narada Case. The Narada sting operation was conducted by Narada news founder Mathew Samuel for over two years in West Bengal for the news magazine Tehelka in 2014, it was published on a private news website Narada News months before the 2016 West Bengal Assembly elections. 

Justice Prakash Shrivastava 

Justice Prakash Shrivastava

The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended the name of Justice Prakash Shrivastava for elevation as the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court. 

He was born on 31st March 1961 and enrolled as an Advocate in the year 1987. He practiced in Tax, Civil and Constitutional sides in the Supreme Court of India. He was appointed judge of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh on January 18, 2008. 

Recently, the Governor of Madhya Pradesh in consultation with the Chief Justice of High Court of Madhya Pradesh nominated Justice Shri Prakash Shrivastava as Executive Chairman of Madhya Pradesh State Legal Services Authority. 

Justice Prakash Shrivastava, Executive Chairman MPSLSA- Jabalpur had continuous interactive sessions with Chief Secretary & Principal Secretaries of all the Govt. Departments, Principal District Judges and all the stakeholders to motivate them and to pursue the government agencies to extend financial benefits/rebates to the common people especially in Electricity matters, Property & Water Tax matters related to Municipal Corporation. It was also meant to encourage them to declare rebates in Cheque Bounce/Recovery Cases so that the poor litigants can be benefited and they could have instant relief in such a pandemic period. 

He held concurrent charge of the post of Commissioner for the Welfare of the Victims of Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster and held that Right To Live Report Court Proceedings Can’t Be Disputed. He also commented that S. 195 CrPC Doesn’t Bar Registration Of FIR For An Offence Under S. 188 IPC By Police. Under the guidance of Justice Prakash Shrivastava, MPSLSA also conducted several meetings with all Insurance Companies, Bankers, Secretaries, Family Court Judges and all the Presiding Officers of the Labour Courts. 

Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra

Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra

The Supreme Court collegium has recommended the name of Justice Prashant Kumar Mishra for elevation as the Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court. He is presently the Acting Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court. 

Justice Prashant Mishra was born on August 29, 1964 at Raigarh (Chhattisgarh). He has completed his graduation in Science by pursuingB.Sc. and LL.B. from Guru Ghasidas University, Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh).

After getting enrolled as an Advocate on September 4, 1987 he started Practicing law in District Court at Raigarh. He later moved toHigh Court of Madhya Pradesh at Jabalpur andthen High Court of Chhattisgarh at Bilaspur for practicing law and dealt with Civil, Criminal and Writ branches of law.

In January 2005, he was designated as Senior Advocate by High Court of Chhattisgarh. He had served as a chairman of Chhattisgarh State Bar Council for a period of 2 years. He was also appointed as Member of the Rule Making Committee of High Court of Chhattisgarh.

He had also been Chancellor’s Nominee in the Executive Council of Guru Ghasidas University, Bilaspur. He was associated with Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur (Chhattisgarh) as its Ex-Officio Member in the Executive Council. He has served as Additional Advocate General for the state of Chhattisgarh from June 26, 2004 to August 31, 2007 and thereafter as Advocate General for the State from September 1, 2007 till elevation. 

Also Read: Supreme Court Collegium recommends transfer of over 20 High Court judges

He was elevated as a Judge of High Court of Chhattisgarh on December 10, 2009. 

He has been nominated by the former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan and appointed by the then President of India Mrs. Pratibha Patil.

He then appointed as acting Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court and took his charge from June 1, 2021. The appointment was madeby the president of India Mr. Ram Nath Kovindin view of the impending retirement of Justice PR Ramachandra Menon who was set to demit office on May 31, 2021.

Justice Ravi Vijaykumar Malimath

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The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended name Justice Ravi Vijaykumar Malimath for elevation as the Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court. 

Shri Justice Ravi Vijaykumar Malimath, B.Com., LL.B., was enrolled as an Advocate on 28th January, 1987. He practised for 20 years before the High Court of Karnataka, High Court of Madras and the Supreme Court of India in Civil, Criminal, Constitutional, Labour, Company, Service cases etc. He specializes in Constitutional Law. He worked in Bangalore University, Bangalore and Kuvempu University, Shimoga. 

He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Karnataka High Court on February 18, 2008 and Permanent Judge on February 17, 2010. He was transferred to Himachal Pradesh High Court on 07.01.2019. His retirement date is showing as 24/05/2024, on the website of Department of Justice, under the Ministry of Law and Justice. 

Presently, he is the Acting Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High court.

Justice Aravind Kumar 

Justice Aravind Kumar

The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended name Justice Justice Aravind Kumar for elevation as the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court. 

Also Read: Supreme Court Collegium recommends transfer of 5 Chief Justices of High Courts

He Enrolled in the year 1987 as Advocate and was appearing in Civil Courts, Magistrate Courts, Appellate Tribunals for about 4 years and shifted practice to High Court. He was appointed as Additional Central Government Standing Counsel at High Court of Karnataka in the year 1999. Then he was appointed as Member of Regional Direct Taxes Advisory Committee in the year 2002. He had also been practicing on Taxation side. Later he was appointed as Standing Counsel for Income Tax Department. He was appointed as the Assistant Solicitor General of India in the year 2005.

He was Legal Advisor to various Statutory Corporations and Companies and had been appointed as Special Public Prosecutor for Central Bureau of Investigation. He was Elevated as Additional Judge, High Court of Karnataka on 26-6-2009 and as permanent Judge on 07-12-2012.

Currently, he is serving as a justice of Karnataka High Court. The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended his name to be a Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court.

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