After a considerable delay, Justice Siddharth Mridul has assumed the position of Chief Justice of the Manipur High Court, culminating in a process that commenced three months ago when the Supreme Court Collegium made its recommendation. The Centre finally issued the official notification on October 9, assuring that the necessary bureaucratic steps had been completed and the remaining procedures would soon follow.
The recommendation for Justice Siddharth Mridul’s appointment as Chief Justice of the Manipur High Court was initially put forth by the Supreme Court Collegium, presided over by Chief Justice of India, D Y Chandrachud, on July 5. This recommendation took place against the backdrop of ethnic unrest in the border state. Two petitions, one by the Advocates Association, Bengaluru, and another by an NGO, were submitted to the Supreme Court, seeking contempt of court proceedings against the Centre for what was perceived as an undue delay in addressing the Collegium’s recommendations regarding judicial appointments and transfers.
The Supreme Court, on September 27, expressed its reservations regarding the pending status of the Collegium’s recommendations with the Central Government. During this session, Justice SK Kaul, leading the bench, emphasized the urgency of the appointment of the Chief Justice for a “sensitive” High Court, referring to the Manipur High Court. In a more recent development, the Attorney General for India, R Venkataramani, assured the Court that the notification for Justice Mridul’s appointment as Chief Justice of the Manipur High Court would be released without further delay.
Simultaneously, the Supreme Court Collegium also recommended the transfer of Justice MV Muralidaran, who currently serves as the Acting Chief Justice of the Manipur High Court, to the Calcutta High Court.