Srinagar: Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir has been appointed as acting Chief Justice of the J&K High Court.
“In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 100 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, the President is pleased to appoint Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir, senior-most judge of the J&K High Court, to perform the duties of the office of the Chief Justice of the High Court with effect from January 5,” reads a notification issued by Joint Secretary Atul Kaushik, Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice.
On Monday, Chief Justice MM Kumar will attain superannuation and till the time his successor assumes the charge, Justice Mir will perform the duties of his office.
Justice Mir was born on May 28, 1957 at Rajpora village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama. He did his LL.B from Kashmir University and joined the Bar and practiced as a lawyer from 1981 to 1993.
Justice Mir was appointed as District and Sessions Judge on May 27, 1993 and remained posted in Baramulla and Anantnag.
Before his elevation as Judge of High Court on November 23, 2007, he discharged duties as Additional District and Sessions Judge Srinagar, Special Judge Anti Corruption Kashmir, Registrar General of High Court and Principal District & Sessions Judge Srinagar. Justice Mir was appointed as permanent Judge of the High Court on October 1, 2009.
With the retirement of Chief Justice Kumar, who will be succeeded by Justice N N Paul Vasanthakumar, the bench strength is all set to be reduced to eight.
However, with the Chief Justice’s appointment as well transfer of Justice Bawa Singh Walia, Additional Judge, Punjab and Haryana High Court to Jammu and Kashmir, endorsed by Governor N N Vohra in December, the strength would go to 10 out of the sanctioned 14. Five of the present judges were appointed in March 2013.
The appointments were part of the history in its own right as five new judges took oath simultaneously, taking the bench strength to 12 judges against the sanctioned strength of nine permanent and five Additional Judges.
However, over the time the bench strength of the High Court reduced as on April 5 2013 Justice Jai Pal Singh attained superannuation while Justice Mansoor Ahmad Mir moved from parent state after his appointment as Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh. In November last year, Justice Virender Singh was appointed as Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court
Earlier last year, court collegium comprising Chief Justice Kumar, Justice Singh and Justice Mir had recommended names of Neeru Goswami (Deputy Advocate General), Advocate Sanjeev Shukla, from Jammu as judges of the court.
From Kashmir, senior Additional Advocate General J A Kawoosa and N A Beigh were recommended for the appointment as Judges of the state’s highest court.
In the ratio of 60:40, the state can have nine High Court judges from Bar and five from the service quota. As per the convention, the present recommendations have been made from the Bar quota. Ten years continuous practice is the basic eligibility criterion for the Bar quota.