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Court seeks files on Patna judge appointment

Legal Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to produce the files relating to the correspondence on the appointment of Justice J.N. Bhat as Chief Justice of the Patna High Court. On July 11, acting on a PIL from Basant Kumar Choudhary, the court had sought the views of the Centre questioning the continuance of Justice Nagendra Rai (who hails from Bihar) as acting Chief Justice of Patna High Court for nearly a year in breach of the policy of having a Chief Justice from outside the State. Solicitor-General G.E. Vahanvati explained that there was no delay on the part of the Law Ministry in making the appointment. However, the Bench wanted to peruse the files relating to the entire correspondence and asked the Solicitor-General to furnish them in the court on August 1 and adjourned the proceedings till then.

The petitioner said Justice Rai was continuing as the acting Chief Justice of Patna High Court from July 22, 2004 when Justice Rajiv S. Dhavan retired. However, after the apex court was seized of the matter, the Centre on July 14 appointed Justice Bhat of the Gujarat High Court as the Chief Justice of Patna.

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