NEW DELHI, CHENNAI: Precisely two weeks after Madras High Court Chief Justice Vijaya K Tahilramani sent her letter of resignation, it was finally accepted by President Ram Nath Kovind—with effect from September 6.Justice Tahilramani quit after the Supreme Court collegium said it would not reconsider its decision to transfer her to the Meghalaya High Court, and did not preside over court proceedings for the past two weeks.
“As per Article 217 (a)(1) of the Constitution, resignations of judges take effect the moment they submit it and there is no provision for either acceptance or rejection by the President of India,” a statement issued by the Union law ministry said.
In a notification issued late on Friday night, the ministry has appointed Justice Vineet Kothari, the seniormost judge of the Madras HC, to perform the duties of the office of chief justice with immediate effect.
The law ministry has also appointed Justices M Rafiq, C V K Abdul Rehim, Rajeev Sharma and D C Chaudhary as acting chief justices of the Rajasthan, Kerala, Punjab and Haryana, and Himachal Pradesh High Courts respectively, since the chief justices of those courts were recently elevated to the apex court.
Transfers of judges based on cogent reasons: SC statement
The collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, had recommended the transfer of Justice Tahilramani, who was elevated as Madras High Court’s chief justice on August 8 last year. She was set to retire next year on October 2, but quit on September 6 after the collegium rejected her plea to take a relook at the transfer.
Bar associations across TN protested against the collegium decision with advocates abstaining from court for several days. Lawyers from Maharashtra’s Latur district, where Justice Tahilramani hails from, also boycotted proceedings for a day.To put an end to the controversy, a statement was issued by the office of SC Secretary General Sanjeev S Kalgaonkar. It said that the transfers of judges were based on cogent reasons. The reasons were not disclosed in the interests of the institution, but the collegium would not hesitate to reveal them if needed.