The Supreme Court has announced that it will hear the plea of several Gujarat judicial officers in July. These officers had their promotions stayed by a bench headed by Justice M R Shah on May 12. Among the affected officers is Surat Chief Judicial Magistrate Harish Hasmukhbhai Varma, who had previously convicted Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in a defamation case.
The bench, comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices P S Narasimha and J B Pardiwala, took note of the submissions made by senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, representing the judicial officers. Arora argued that the officers had been reverted back to their original lower cadre by the Gujarat High Court, following the Supreme Court’s decision on May 12.
The senior lawyer emphasized that several judicial officers were experiencing humiliation due to their demotion. She also pointed out that six states in the country follow the principle of seniority-cum-merit for promotions. The plea seeks relief for the officers who were affected by the decision.
Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud stated that the case would be listed for hearing after the summer vacation in July. He acknowledged that the officers had been reverted back based on a decision made by a coordinate bench of the Supreme Court.
Previously, the apex court had ruled that the promotions of the judicial officers were in violation of the Gujarat State Judicial Service Rules 2005, amended in 2011. These rules specify that promotions should be based on the principle of merit-cum-seniority and require the officers to pass a suitability test.
The upcoming hearing in the Supreme Court will provide an opportunity for the aggrieved judicial officers to present their case and seek a resolution to their demotion. It remains to be seen how the court will approach the issue and whether it will provide relief to the officers affected by the promotion stay.