Rajasthan Chief Justice to now head Bombay High Court

Mumbai: Days after the recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium, the President of India on Monday officially appointed Justice Pradeep Nandrajog as the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court. The President has directed Justice Nandrajog to assume office of the CJ of the Bombay HC on April 6, the day when the present CJ Naresh Patil retires.

Justice Nandrajog is presently serving as the Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court. Incidentally, this appointment comes days before the retirement of outgoing CJ Naresh Patil of the Bombay HC, who was appointed to the post after a delay of 10 months.

Notably, the office of Bombay HC’s CJ was looked after by an acting CJ, for at least 10 months after the retirement of the then CJ Manjula Chellur, who was superannuated on December 5, 2017. Soon after her retirement, there was no recommendation from the collegium in this regard and the Bombay HC administration was looked after by acting CJs.

The collegium named Justice Patil as the 30th CJ on October 24, 2018. Thus, to rectify the past, the collegium and the government, has finalised the name of Justice Pradeep Nandrajog as the new CJ of the Bombay HC, well in advance. Justice Pradeep Nandrajog was elevated as a judge of the Delhi HC in December 2002 and was elevated as the CJ of Rajasthan HC in March 2017.

Justice Nandrajog was in news in December 2018, when despite recommendation, he was not elevated to the Supreme Court and instead two junior judges to him, were appointed in the top court. This controversial decision (to supersede Justice Nandrajog) had invited criticism from some sitting and retired judges, who even wrote letters to CJI Ranjan Gogoi and also the President of India against the elevation of two junior judges.

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