SC stays Gujarat HC order questioning plots to judges

New Delhi,  (IANS) The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed the Gujarat High Court order questioning the state government over allotting plots in a posh locality of Ahmedabad in 2010 to then 27 high court judges including a now judge of the apex court.

Staying the August 10-11 high court order, the apex court bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre issued notice to the Gujarat government, the Ahmedabad collector, the municipal commissioner and other state government agencies.

Notice was also issued to the Neetibagh Judges Co-operative Housing Society Ltd. and the high court registrar seeking their responses to a petition by former judge of the Gujarat High Court Justice Dhiren Arvind Mehta.

The notice issued by the apex court are returnable in four weeks.

“In the meantime, further proceedings shall remain stayed, until further orders. The registry is directed to communicate this order to the Gujarat High Court forthwith,” the apex court said on Wednesday in a brief order after counsel Harish Salve mentioned the matter.

The court directed the deleting of the names of 27 judges which were listed as respondents, “on the oral request” of Salve.

The apex court also allowed the plea by counsel K.K. Venugopal and impleaded the Gujarat High Court Advocates Association as a party respondent.

Appearing for the petitioner judge Mehta, Salve said the high court action in issuing notice to retired and sitting judges was not good.

Salve questioned the haste shown by the high court in entertaining the July 2-3, 2015 letter by former judge Justice B.J. Shethna and the July 6, 2015 letter by former chief justice of Bombay High Court Justice K.R. Vyas raising the issue of the allotment of plots, and converting the letters into public interest litigations.

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