Justice Jayant M Patel, the senior most judge of the Karnataka High Court, who resigned after the Supreme Court collegium transferred him to the Allahabad High Court, said those who decided against his elevation “must answer how it was done,” Indian Express reported. It was expected that the judge would take charge as Acting Chief Justice of the High Court once current Chief Justice S K Mukherjee retires on October 9. The judge, as part of a bench in the Gujarat High Court, had ordered a CBI investigation in the 2004 killing of Mumbra girl Ishrat Jahan and three others after the Special Investigation Team concluded that the police had faked the encounter, paper added.
After the Indian Express contacted him, the judge, who sent his resignation to the President on Monday, did not link the refusal of his appointment as Chief Justice to his 2011 decision. “What I feel is that I did my duty as per the oath of my office. Punishment is ultimately in God’s hands. One thing I can say is that wherever I worked, it has been with all sincerity and strictly as per my oath of office,’’ he added.
“When I became aware about my contemplated transfer to the Allahabad High Court, I decided to resign. I have already sent my resignation to the President of India. From yesterday, I am relieved of responsibilities. How it happened and what happened is for you to consider,’’ the paper quoted him as saying.
“I had no desire to be shifted to Allahabad. I have worked with dignity for 16 years as a judge, and for (the remaining) ten months why should I go to another place,’’ Justice Patel added. When asked if the decision was a fallout of his order for a CBI probe into the Ishrat Jahan case, Justice Patel told the paper, “Everyday we take decisions. We do not look at whether the case is about X or Y and we cannot decide a matter like that. We do not see the name of the party and decide the course. This is what is expected of us. I don’t think this could be the reason (for my transfer) but I cannot answer as the decisions were taken by someone else.’’
He was appointed to Karnataka High Court on February 13, 2016. Before this he served as Acting Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court from August 2015 to February 2016.