Rejig in HCs; SC Collegium recommends transfers of 23 judges, including the one who declined Rahul’s pleatext_fields
New Delhi: The Supreme Court Collegium, which has recommended the transfer of 23 judges, also included Justice Hemant M Prachchhak of the Gujarat High Court who refused to stay a criminal defamation case against Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
Among the judges recommended for transfer are Samir Dave, who had opted out of hearing Teesta Setalvad's request to cancel an FIR against her for alleged fabrication of evidence in the 2002 Godhra riots case, and Justice Gita Gopi, who had recused herself from a hearing on Rahul Gandhi's plea to suspend his conviction.
The Supreme Court, in its announcement on the website, stated that the transfers are aimed at enhancing the efficiency and administration of justice.
In the criminal defamation case against Rahul Gandhi, Justice Prachchhak had rendered a 123-page verdict in July, asserting that no grounds were established to stay the conviction.
Justice Prachchhak was also a part of the legal team defending former BJP minister Maya Kodnani in the 2002 Gujarat riots case. He began his journey as a lawyer in the Gujarat High Court and went on to serve as the assistant pleader of the Gujarat government during Chief Minister Narendra Modi's tenure.
Later, he assumed the role of Union government's standing counsel for the High Court of Gujarat, a position he held until 2019. In 2021, he was appointed as a judge at the Gujarat High Court.
Justice Samir Dave recently courted controversy with his remarks during a hearing involving a minor rape survivor, where he suggested she read the 'Manusmriti' while discussing the marriage age. Additionally, he opted out of hearing Teesta Setalvad's request to cancel an FIR against her for the alleged fabrication of evidence in the 2002 Godhra riots case.
Justice Gita Gopi, who had recused of a hearing on Rahul Gandhi's plea to suspend his conviction.
The transfer recommendations were made by the Collegium comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice BR Gavai, and Justice Surya Kant during their meeting on August 3. Subsequently, in a meeting held on August 10, 14 more names were added to the list of recommended transfers.
The move is seen as a step towards streamlining the judiciary and ensuring a more balanced distribution of judicial workloads across various high courts.