Judge who remanded Amit Shah to CBI custody excluded from SC elevation

Hyderabad: Justice Akil Abdulhamid Kureshi, one of the senior-most High Court chief justices in the country, has been left out from the list cleared for elevation to the Supreme Court by the collegium on Wednesday. The SC collegiums headed by Chief Justice of India N.V. Ramana cleared nine other chief justices and judges for elevation, post the retirement of R.F. Nariman.

While Justice Nariman is said to have recommended Justice Kureshi for elevation when he was part of the collegium, post his retirement on August 12, nine other names got cleared instead. Justice Kureshi is well known for having remanded current union home minister and ex-BJP national president Amit Shah in CBI custody over a decade ago (when Shah was was Gujarat home minister) in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.

The people cleared for elevation to the Supreme Court are Karnataka High Court Chief Justice A.S. Oka; Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Vikram Nath; Sikkim High Court Chief Justice J.K. Maheshwari; Telangana High Court’s Justice Hima Kohli; Kerala High Court judge, Justice C.T. Ravi Kumar; Madras High Court judge, Justice M.M. Sundresh; Gujarat High Court judge, Justice Bela M. Trivedi; and senior advocate P.S. Narasimha.

Most of the above chief justices and judges lack Justice Kureshi’s experience and seniority. While there is no clear stipulation that only a senior-most judge or chief justice of a high court should be elevated to the Supreme Court, the convention has always prioritized senior judges.

Justice Kureshi, who was then senior judge in Bombay High Court, went on to become the Tripura High Court chief justice in 2019 after a stalemate between the then collegium and the Narendra Modi government.

The present collegium of Justices Ramana, U.U. Lalit, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and L. Nageswara Rao. The Chief Justice has not furnished any information to media outlets as to what factors went into account to exclude Justice Kureshi from the list.