SC orders transfer of 3 HC judges

Keeping in view the "public interest", the Supreme Court has ordered transfer of three Punjab and Haryana High Court judges. An official communication seeking their "views/response" over the station where they have been transferred to has been received by the three judges.

The three are Justice Ashutosh Mohunta, Justice Vinod Kumar Sharma and Justice H S Bhalla. While the Supreme Court collegium has decided to transfer Justice Mohunta to Andhra Pradesh, Justice Vinod Kumar Sharma and Justice H S Bhalla are likely to join Madras and Orissa High Courts, respectively. Sources said a judge of the Madras High Court will soon be transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Justice Ranjan Gogoi of the Gauhati High Court will be administered oath as Punjab and Haryana High Court Judge on September 9.

Justice Gogoi, who is the first puisne Judge at Gauhati High Court, will become the first puisne Judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court after retirement of Justice Mehtab Singh Gill in October this year.

The three judges have been asked to respond to their transfer orders within 15 days. Seeking their response means that the judges can express their reservation over being transferred to a particular station. It is not that only judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court are being transferred. As per available information, judges of high courts of other states are being transferred and this is believed to be the first batch of transfers with more to follow. A s per a policy decision taken by the Supreme Court, any judge who is to be elevated as Chief Justice of a High Court will be sent as first puisne judge to the High Court concerned for a few months. Justice Gogoi is expected to be the new Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court after the retirement of Justice Mukul Mudgal in January next year.

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