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With Mohd Rafiq's Induction into MP HC, All But One of 25 High Courts Now Have Regular Chief Justices

Representative Image

Representative Image

While four judges were elevated, the file of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, a judge of the Uttarakhand HC who has been recommended for the post of chief justice of the Gauhati High Court, is under process and a decision would be known by the end the week, sources in the government said. Some of the high courts were functioning with acting chief justices.

New Delhi: Twenty-four out of 25 high courts in the country now have regular chief justice, following the elevation of four judges last week. The Supreme Court collegium had recently recommended the elevation of five judges as chief justices of various high courts.

While four judges were elevated, the file of Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, a judge of the Uttarakhand HC who has been recommended for the post of chief justice of the Gauhati High Court, is under process and a decision would be known by the end the week, sources in the government said. Some of the high courts were functioning with acting chief justices.

Justice S Muralidhar of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has been elevated as Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court. Delhi High Court's Justice Hima Kohli has been elevated as Chief Justice of the Telangana High Court. Justice Pankaj Mithal of the Allahabad High Court has been made the chief justice of the common high court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh Union Territories.

Justice Sanjib Banerjee, a judge of the Calcutta High Court, has been appointed as the new chief justice of the Madras High Court. Meanwhile, there are four vacancies in the Supreme Court and the Law Ministry is yet to receive recommendations from the collegium to fill up the slots.

Justice Mohammad Rafiq was on Sunday administered the oath as the 26th Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court by Governor Anandiben Patel. Justice Rafiq was serving as Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court before he was transferred to Madhya Pradesh on the similar position on December 31 last year.

Justice Rafiq was administered the oath of office at a function held at Raj Bhavan here by Uttar Pradesh Governor Patel, who is holding additional charge of Madhya Pradesh. He was born on May 20, 1960 at Sujangarh in Churu district of Rajasthan, as per the MP High Court website.

Before becoming a judge in the Rajasthan High Court on May 15, 2006, justice Rafiq was a practising lawyer. The Madhya Pradesh High Court had 3,81,641 (2,36,204 civil and 1,45,437 criminal cases) cases pending till November 30, 2019.

The first vacancy in the Supreme Court arose following the retirement of Justice Ranjan Gogoi in November 2019 as the Chief Justice of India. Subsequently, three more vacancies arose in the top court following the retirements of justices Deepak Gupta, R Bhanumathi and Arun Mishra.

Against a sanctioned strength of 34, the apex court is functioning with 30 judges. The government has maintained that appointment of judges in the high courts is a "continuous collaborative process" between the executive and the judiciary, as it requires consultation and approval from various constitutional authorities.

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