The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended that Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court, Justice Mohammad Rafiq as the next Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court.
The Orissa High Court has been functioning under the aegis of Acting Chief Justice Sanju Panda since January 5, 2020, following the retirement of Justice Kalpesh Satyendra Jhaveri.
Born in Sujangarh, Churu, Justice Mohammad Rafiq enrolled as an Advocate at the Bar Council of Rajasthan in 1984 after obtaining his degree in law from the Rajasthan University. He practised exclusively in almost all branches of law especially in Constitutional matters, Service matters, Land Acquisition cases, Land Revenue cases, Customs & Excise matters, Railway Claim cases, Tax matters, Company matters and Criminal matters.
He worked as an Assistant Government Advocate for the State of Rajasthan form July 15th 1986, to December 21st 1986; and Deputy Government Advocate from December 22nd, 1987 to June 29th, 1990. He also represented the Union of India as Standing Counsel from 1992 to 2001 before the High Court. He was appointed as an Additional Advocate General for the State of Rajasthan on January 7th, 1999 and worked as such till his elevation to the Bench of the Rajasthan High Court in May 2006.
In the year 2008, he was appointed as Justice at the Rajasthan High Court under Article 217 (1) [Appointment and condition of the office of a Judge of a High Court] of the Constitution of India. Justice Rafiq also served as acting Chief Justice of Rajasthan High Court.
At Rajasthan High Court, he functioned as an Acting Chief Justice twice on April 7th, 2019 up to May 4th, 2019 and on September 23rd, 2019 to October 5th, 2019. He also worked as an Executive Chairman of the Rajasthan State Legal Services Authority and Administrative Judge.
Justice Rafiq was sworn-in as Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court on November 13, 2019, under Article 222 [provision for the transfer of a Judge (including Chief Justice) from one High Court to any other High Court] of the Constitution of India. Pertinently, the Supreme Court Collegium had first recommended former Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, Justice V.K. Tahilramani to be appointed as the Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court. However, consequent to her resignation in September 2019 as a sign of protest against the proposal, the recommendation to elevate Justice Rafiq at the Chief justice of the Meghalaya High Court was made vide resolution dated October 17.
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