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Four Chief Justices being transferred

By J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI, OCT. 18. In a major reshuffle, the Supreme Court collegium of judges, headed by the Chief Justice of India, R.C. Lahoti, has recommended the transfer of four Chief Justices of High Courts and the elevation of four Judges as High Court Chief Justices.

Official sources told The Hindu that the transfers were not punitive but were being done in the "public interest" and for better "administration of justice."

The Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, B. Subhashan Reddy, is being shifted to the Kerala High Court. The Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court, N.K. Sodhi, is being transferred to Karnataka, following the retirement of Justice N.K. Jain.

The Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, B.K. Roy, is being transferred as Chief Justice of the Patna High Court. The sources said letters had been sent to the Union Law Minister, H.R. Bhardwaj, on October 14 for processing the three recommendations. The Chief Justice of the Uttaranchal High Court, V.S. Sirpurkar, is being sent to the Calcutta High Court.

Four elevations

Justice A.N. Ray, Judge of the Calcutta High Court, is being elevated as Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court; Justice Markandey Katju, Judge of the Allahabad High Court, as Chief Justice of the Madras High Court; Justice Cyriac Joseph, Judge of the Kerala High Court, as Chief Justice of the Uttaranchal High Court; and Justice Altamas Kabir, Judge of the Calcutta High Court, as Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

Authoritative sources said these four recommendations and that of Mr. Justice Sirpurkar had been sent to Mr. Bhardwaj on Sunday. The indications are that the proposals would be processed by the Law Ministry and forwarded to the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, for being sent to the President for approval and the issue of warrants of appointment.

Lawyers in Tamil Nadu went on an agitation against what they called the hasty inauguration of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court and its jurisdiction. They later submitted a memorandum to Mr. Justice Lahoti, listing several charges against Mr. Justice Reddy and protested against the framing of a code of conduct for lawyers. The agitation was withdrawn after the code was dropped.

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