SC dismisses Karnataka judge’s plea minutes before oath

Supreme-Court-04NEW DELHI : The Top Court on Monday dismissed a plea by a principal district and sessions judge for quashing the Presidential order of April 30 appointing a “junior” as an additional judge of the Karnataka High Court.
The petition was dismissed just 15 minutes before the judicial officer Padmaraj N Desai was to take oath as an additional judge of the High Court.  “You have come late at the eleventh hour. Only 15 minutes left for the swearing in. No court had passed orders like this,” ruled the Supreme Court bench.
A bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose took up the matter through the virtual court system. The court, however, declined to consider the petition by Master RKGMM Mahaswamiji, saying it can’t entertain a plea filed at the last moment.

The officer’s appointment was challeneged by Principal district and sessions Judge Sri Master RKGMM Mhaswamiji on the ground of seniority. The plea, which also sought a stay on the sewaring-in, was taken up by the court through video conferencing at 10 am today, 30 minutes before the swearing-in.
The Supreme Court said that it generally does not interfere with the President’s order on appointment of judges at the eleventh hour and dismissed the plea, advocate Sanjay Nuli, who appeared for the petitioner, said after the hearing.
“It is a case of superseding/passing over of a senior District judge (who was appointed on February 25, 2008, under reserve category ie., schedule caste) by junior district judge and recommendation of Respondent No. 11 (P N Desai) by the collegium of Karnataka High Court is unlawful, arbitrary, and in clear violation of statutory rules / administrative instructions contained in the official memorandum dated October 9, 1985, and involved bias of malafide and it clearly violated the functional rights guaranteed to the Petitioner under Articles 14 and 16 of the Indian Constitution,” the plea of Judge Mahaswamiji said.
The plea also cited fundamental rights under Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution to challenge the officer’s swearing-in.

According to the notification issued by the registrar general of the Karnataka High Court, Justice Shivashankar Amarannavar, Justice Makkimane G Uma, Justice Vedavyasachar Srishananda, Justice Hanchate Sanjeevkumar and Justice Padmaraj N Desai, were to take oath of additional judges of Karnataka High Court at 10.30 am.
(With Agency Inputs).

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