Lawyers in Karnataka to protest against unjust transfer of honest judge

The lawyers in Karnataka on Tuesday said, they are protesting against the “unjust transfer of an honest judge”. Karnataka Courts reopen after the Dasara vacation on Wednesday.

The State Bar Council of Karnataka and the Advocates Association of Bengaluru have jointly decided to desist from court work for a day on Wednesday as a mark of protest against the Supreme Court collegium’s decision to transfer Justice Jayant M Patel, who is the seniormost judge of Karnataka High Court, to Allahabad High Court.

Justice Patel gave his resignation on September 25 after being sounded out for the transfer at a time when he was on the verge of becoming the chief justice, or acting chief justice, of Karnataka High Court, as the incumbent Chief Justice, S K Mukherjee, retires on October 9.

Justice Patel, 61, would have been third in the list of seniority at Allahabad High Court, and in all likelihood would not have assumed the role of chief justice or acting chief justice of any High Court ahead of his retirement in 10 months, pointed out the lawyers.

 Justice Patel was appointed to Karnataka High Court on February 13, 2016 after serving as acting chief justice of High Court of Gujrat. He is best known for ordering a CBI inquiry into the deaths of Isharat Jahan and others in an “encounter” at the time when Narendra Modi was in office as the chief minister.

Y R Sadasiva Reddy who is the Chairman of Karnataka State Bar Council stated that lawyers affiliated to the council across the state would refrain from work over the “injustice” meted out to Justice Patel.

He also mentioned that it is a collective decision of the lawyers to ignore a call by advocates affiliated to the BJP, who demanded withdrawal of the boycott, arguing that the protest should not be targeted at the Central government since it played no role in the judge’s transfer.

“This fight is not a political one. We have decided to ignore the request of the lawyers affiliated to BJP. This is a protest to fight against injustice to the judge,’’ said Reddy.

K N Puttegowda, president of Advocates Association of Bengaluru, stated a resolution was passed by the association on Tuesday to refrain from attending courts on Wednesday in order to express solidarity with Justice Patel. “The Supreme Court collegium decision to transfer an honest judge like Jayant Patel has caused injustice. This should not have been done. We are holding a symbolic protest to support an honest judge,’’ Puttegowda said.


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