Supreme Court: The bench of Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose, JJ has dismissed a plea by a district judge challenging the appointment of a ‘junior’ judicial officer as an additional judge of the Karnataka High Court and seeking a stay on his swearing-in contending that it breaches the seniority rule.
The bench took up the matter through video conferencing at 10 am, just half an hour before the scheduled swearing-in of judicial officer Padmaraj N Desai as an additional judge of the Karnataka High Court and dismissed it saying the Court cannot entertain such plea at the eleventh hour. The Court said that it generally does not interfere with the President’s order on appointment of judges at the eleventh hour.
Shivamogga principal district judge RKGMM Mahaswamiji has challenged the appointment of judicial officer Padmaraj N Desai as additional judge of the Karnataka High Court on the ground of seniority. The plea of Mahaswamiji said,
“It is a case of superseding/passing over of a senior District judge (who was appointed on February 25, 2008, under reserve category ie., schedule caste) by junior district judge and recommendation of Respondent No. 11 (P N Desai) by the collegium of Karnataka High Court is unlawful, arbitrary, and in clear violation of statutory rules / administrative instructions contained in the official memorandum dated October 9, 1985, and involved bias of malafide and it clearly violated the functional rights guaranteed to the Petitioner under Articles 14 and 16 of the Indian Constitution.”
He had said that if the interim relief of staying the swearing-in ceremony of judicial officer Padmaraj N Desai as an additional judge of Karnataka High Court is not granted then the purpose of the petition will be defeated and it may cause failure of complete justice and clear infraction of fundamental rights guaranteed to the petitioner under Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.
According to the notification issued by the registrar general of the Karnataka High Court, Justice Shivashankar Amarannavar, Justice Makkimane G Uma, Justice Vedavyasachar Srishananda, Justice Hanchate Sanjeevkumar and Justice Padmaraj N Desai, were to take oath of additional judges of Karnataka High Court at 10.30 am.