Govt’s negative perception a certificate of judicial independence: Outgoing Chief Justice of Rajasthan HC

Justice Akil Abdulhamid Kureshi, the outgoing Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court, on Saturday said the government’s negative perception about him is a certificate of his judicial independence.

Justice Kureshi was referring to some observations made by Ranjan Gogoi, former chief justice of India in his biography, explaining why the Rajasthan Chief Justice’s recommendations on the appointment of the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh and Tripura high courts were rejected, PTI reported. He did not name Gogoi.

“I have not read the biography but going by the media reports, he has made certain disclosures regarding changing of my recommendations for the CJs of MP and Tripura. It is stated that the government had some negative perceptions about me based on my judicial opinions,” he said, addressing the members of the bar and bench of the Rajasthan High Court on the last day of his office.

“As a judge of a constitutional court whose most primary duty is to protect the fundamental and human rights of citizens, I consider it as a certificate of independence,” he added.

Justice Kureshi had joined the Rajasthan High Court as its chief justice on 12 October 2021.

“The very reason for the existence of courts was to protect the rights of citizens,” PTI quoted Kureshi as saying.

During his time in the Gujarat High Court, Justice Kureshi gave two important verdicts which were an embarrassment to the then Narendra Modi government in Gujarat. In 2010, he set aside a trial court order and granted the CBI two-day custody of then Gujarat Home Minister Amit Shah in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case.

In 2011, a Bench headed by Justice Kureshi upheld the then Gujarat governor Kamla Beniwal’s decision to appoint former high court judge R A Mehta as the state’s Lokayukta. It had been opposed by then CM Modi.