AHMEDABAD: Karnataka High Court's most senior judge Jayant Patel on Monday resigned reportedly after being transferred to the Allahabad High Court instead of being elevated as Chief Justice or Acting Chief Justice. He is known for ordering a CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) investigation in the controversial fake Ishrat Jahan encounter case in Gujarat.
Patel, the senior-most puisne (puisne denotes a judge of a superior court inferior in rank to chief justices) judge of the Karnataka High Court after the chief justice, sent his resignation letter to Chief Justice SK Mukherjee.
It is believed Justice Patel, who was Acting Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court before being posted to Bengaluru, resigned in a huff over his transfer to the Allahabad High Court, where he would be the third most senior judge.
He was next in line to be the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court but instead of being given a promotion, he was transferred to the Allahabad HC.
This is not the first time that Justice Patel has reportedly been passed up for a promotion.
In fact, the Gujarat High Court Bar Association had even raised the non-appointment of Justice Patel with the Collegium and called it shocking. This was when he was Acting Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court and was transferred as a judge in the Karnataka High Court.
A Bar and Bench report quotes senior lawyers who feel that Patel seems to be paying the price for directing a CBI investigation into the ‘quadruple murder’ in the Ishrat Jahan fake encounter case.
Justice Patel was part of the division bench that handed over the investigation into the 2004 killings of Ishrat Jahan, Javed Sheikh and two others, to a Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT). Headed by former CBI chief Raghavan, the SIT handed over its report in December 2011, with the conclusion that the police's version of an encounter was false. Then, the division bench transferred the case to the CBI.
Justice Patel had also monitored the CBI probe, which included looking into the role of officials of the Intelligence Bureau.
He was sworn in as a judge of Karnataka High Court on February 13 last year, while he was appointed the Acting Chief Justice of the Gujarat High Court on August 13, 2015.
(With online desk inputs)