BENGALURU: The sudden transfer of Justice Jayant Patel and his consequent resignation has shocked legal fraternity here, including those in the higher judiciary. Judges and advocates have expressed shock and dismay over transfer of Justice Patel. Some of them were seen visiting the judge’s chamber to convey their displeasure. Then, the judge is said to have told the visitors that “a person who served the judiciary for 16 years without fear or favour cannot work under constraint for ten months.”
Justifying Justice Patel’s resignation, former Supre Court judge justice Santhosh Hegde said, “To give an example, my father Justice K S Hegde was among the three judges of Supreme Court which ruled that even Parliament has no power to change the fabric of the Constitution in Kesavananda Bharati case. Later, the fourth judge on the bench was elevated as Chief Justice of India, superseding three senior judges, including my father. Therefore, my father tendered his resignation. Similarly, if that is the case, Justice Patel has done right thing. If he is being treated as not capable of becoming a chief justice, how can he continue?”
Advocate General Madhusudan R Naik said Justice Patel is an ‘excellent judge’. “I have asked the Karnataka State Bar Council to convene a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the matter,” he said. Co-Chairman of Bar Council of India Y R Sadashiva Reddy indicated that they will take tough decisions for empowerment of the judiciary in the meeting to be held on Wednesday.
The judge’s transfer has left advocates disappointed. It was urged to fill the vacant posts of judges in Karnataka High Court wherein only 27 judges are functioning as against total strength of 62. However, no action was taken to consider our request. But it has taken decision to transfer honest judge, he added.
Meanwhile, the Advocates’ Association of Bangalore has also condemned the transfer, saying that there is no place for honest judges. Few advocates led by General Secretary Puttegowda staged silent protest in front of court to condemn the transfer.