New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to examine in July a plea by several Gujarat judicial officers whose promotions were stayed by it last week.
Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, representing the judicial officers, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud that the judicial officers have been reverted back to their original lower cadre by the Gujarat High Court after the apex court judgment on May 12.
Arora contended that they are suffering “humiliation” due to the demotion and six states in the country follow the principle of seniority-cum-merit for promotion.
The bench noted that these matters are reversible and assured the affected judges that they would receive their retiral dues.
“We will list it after the summer vacation in July,” it added.
On May 12, a bench headed by Justice M.R. Shah, now retired, declared a select list prepared by the Gujarat High Court on March 10 and the subsequent notification issued on April 18 by the state government, which granted promotion to the cadre of district judge to the judicial officers as illegal and contrary to the rules and regulations and also to the apex court’s decision in the case of All India Judges’ Association (2002).
A bench comprising Justices M.R. Shah and C.T. Ravikumar said: “we are more than satisfied that the impugned Select List dated March 10, 2023 issued by the high court and the subsequent notification dated April 18, 2023 issued by the state government granting promotion to the cadre of district judge are illegal and contrary to the relevant Rules and Regulations and even to the decision of this court in the case of All India Judges’ Association and Orsa. Therefore, we are more than prima facie satisfied that the same as such are not sustainable.”
The bench said taking into consideration the fact that the state government has issued notification on April 18, during the pendency of the present writ petition and after the receipt of the notice issued by this court in the present proceedings, the state government could have waited till the next date of hearing by this court on April 28.
The bench said: “The respective promotees be sent to their original posts which they were holding prior to their promotion vide Select List dated March 10, 2023 and Notification dated April 18, 2023. However, it is clarified that the present stay order shall be confined with respect to those promotees whose names do not figure within the first 68 candidates in the merit list on the basis of the merits, the copy of which is produced by the High Court along with the counter.”