The Supreme Court on Tuesday was seized of a peculiar matter wherein on account of the non-availability of a Division Bench owing to judicial vacancies in the Manipur High Court, the petitioner approached the Supreme Court seeking that her pending Writ Appeal may be transferred to any other High Court.

"The petitioners before this Court seek transfer of a pending Writ Appeal No.104 of 2022 before the High Court of Manipur at Imphal to any other High Court. The reasons assigned by the petitioners for the transfer are that the Division Bench is presently not available in the High Court of Manipur to hear the Writ Appeal", observed Justice Sudhanshu Dhulia, sitting singly.

The petitioners approached the Supreme Court under Section 25 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 read with Order XLI of the Supreme Court Rules, 2013 praying for the transfer of pending intra-court writ appeal before Manipur High Court to any other High Court.

Senior Advocate Devadatta Kamat appeared for the petitioner in the present case, while Advocate Neha Rathi represented the respondent.

The Writ Appeal preferred by the petitioner against the decision of the single judge of the High Court could not be decided by the Division Bench as one of the judges recused from hearing the matter on grounds of 'personal reasons". The Division Bench in its order dated 14 Oct 2022 noted, "This writ appeal cannot be taken up by this Bench as one of us, Hon'ble Mr. Justice Ahanthem Bimol Singh, cannot hear this matter for personal reasons. Registry is, therefore, directed to list this appeal before an appropriate Bench as and when it is possible to do so."

As per the latest information available on the official website of the Manipur High Court, only three judges are serving against the approved strength of five judges.

The Court said that the instant plea is not a transfer petition simplicitor, and must go before the regular Court for appropriate orders.

"Registry is, therefore, directed to place the matter before Hon'ble the Chief Justice for posting the matter before the appropriate Bench at the earliest", read the Order dated 06 Dec 2022.

Cause Title- Ningthoujam Babita Chanu v. The State of Manipur

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