Manipur, in the throes of a violent conflict that has been described as being akin to a civil war, and where lawyers homes and offices have been vandalised, has been without a Chief Justice since February this year.
ON Monday, the Union governmentnotified the appointment of Delhi High Court judge Justice Siddharth Mridul as the Chief Justice of the Manipur High Court.
The notification in this regard was issued by the Ministry of Law and Justice in the evening yesterday. The government had been holding back Justice Mridul’s appointment for three months.
The delay in appointment and transfer of judges has been a sticking point between the judiciary and the executive. In a recent example, a Supreme Court Bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaulexpressed its displeasure at the delay in the appointment and transfer of judges despite collegium recommendations.
The office of the Chief Justice of the High Court of Manipur fell vacant in February 2023 consequent upon the elevation of Justice P.V. Sanjay Kumar to the Supreme Court of India.
On February 9, the Supreme Court Collegium recommended the name of Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur as Chief Justice of the high court.
However, on July 5, the collegium altered its earlier recommendation to appoint Justice Thakur as Chief Justice of the Manipur High Court and substituted it with a recommendation to appoint him as Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court instead.
At the same time, the collegium recommended the name of Justice Mridul for the post of Chief Justice of the Manipur High Court.
Justice Mridul was appointed as judge of the Delhi High Court on March 13, 2018. He is slated to retire on November 21, 2024, if not elevated to the Supreme Court.