The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a plea filed by several Gujarat judicial officers whose promotions were recently stayed by the court. The decision came after a bench, led by retired Justice MR Shah, had halted the promotion of 68 lower judicial officers from Gujarat, including Surat Chief Judicial Magistrate Harish Hasmukh Varma, who had previously convicted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case.
A new bench, comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala, took note of the submissions made by senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, who represented the judicial officers. Arora highlighted that the Gujarat High Court had reverted the officers back to their original lower cadre following the Supreme Court’s decision on May 12.
The demotion has caused immense humiliation for the affected judicial officers, and it is worth noting that six states in the country follow the principle of seniority-cum-merit for promotion, according to the senior lawyer.
“We will list it after the summer vacation in July,” stated the Chief Justice of India, indicating that the case will be scheduled for a hearing post the court’s vacation. He further emphasized that the officers had been reverted based on a decision made by a coordinated bench of the Supreme Court.
The top court had previously asserted that the promotion of these judicial officers violated the Gujarat State Judicial Service Rules of 2005, which were amended in 2011. The rules explicitly state that promotions should be based on the principles of merit-cum-seniority and upon passing a suitability test.
This development signifies a significant legal battle ahead, as the Supreme Court is set to delve into the plea of the Gujarat judicial officers seeking the restoration of their rightful promotions. The outcome of this case will undoubtedly have broader implications for the promotion policies within the judicial system.