BENGALURU: The Karnataka State Bar Council has resolved to boycott court proceedings across the state on October 4 to protest against the transfer of Justice Jayant Patel, which led to his resignation.
The decision was taken at the emergent meeting chaired by Y R Sadashiva Reddy, Co-Chairman of Bar Council of India, on Wednesday.
Justice Patel, the second seniormost judge of the Karnataka High Court, was transferred to Allahabad High Court when he was set to be elevated. Chief Justice S K Mukherjee is due to retire on October 9. This was the second time Justice Patel was transferred when he was set to be elevated. The judge was serving as acting Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court when he was tranferred to Karnataka High Court in 2016. During his tenure in Gujarat, he had ordered a CBI probe into the Ishrat Jahan encounter case of 2004 and monitored the probe. “The entire legal fraternity is anguished and greatly disturbed by the shaking of faith in the Collegium System, which has meted out such treatment to the Hon’ble Justice Jayant Patel... Members of the Bar perceive that, apparently decision makers in judiciary and executive have overlooked aspirations and spirit of the NJAC verdict to achieving transparency by the actions reflected in recent events, like the proposed transfer of Justice Patel on the eve of incumbent Chief Justice of Karnataka retiring.
The same has exposed some of the flaws in the system,” the Bar Council resolution stated.
The resolution was passed after a deliberation held at the Advocate General’s office at High Court. The meeting also discussed the ‘non appointment of judges’ to the High Court, culminating in huge vacancies and disruption of court work; and the need to address themselves to the situation. In a press release, Sadashiva Reddy stated that the Bar Council of Karnataka was in agreement with the views and resolution of Gujarat High Court Advocates Association against Justice Patel’s transfer. The Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association had decided to abstain from work on Wednesday as a mark of protest against Justice Patel’s transfer. It has also made an appeal to all Bar Associations of the sub-ordinate Courts and Tribunals to boycott work on Wednesday.
The Bar Council in Karnataka recollected the sequence of events leading to the initial transfer of Justice Patel to Karnataka High Court, and denial of his rightful and deserved consideration of being appointed to the Supreme Court or as a chief justice to a High Court, despite being seniormost judge in his parent high court of Gujarat. “It is the considered view of the Bar Council that it is required to bring forth by it, the immediate need to instil and rekindle the faith and confidence in Collegium System, of there being ‘right decisions’ in the larger interest of justice delivery system; ensuring independence of judiciary; which apparently has been ‘denied’ by the recent events in appointments, transfers and, posting of judges to the High Court. Members of the Bar, are also greatly disappointed..by the treatment being meted out by the Centre, in delaying and non appointment of judges to the High Court, resulting in reducing the strength of judges to 25 from sanctioned strength of 62,” they added.
Treating this as a “rarest situation” the Bar Council said that it has “resolved to request the Members of the Bar across the State, to abstain from appearance in their respective courts on Oct 4, as a mark of protest and, to vindicate the independence of the judiciary and express the concern and request through the said process.”