AFT Chandigarh Bar Association Writes To CJI Seeking Quashing Of "Sudden Transfer" Of Justice Dharam Chand Chaudhary
The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) Chandigarh Bench Bar Association has written to CJI D.Y Chandrachud on Monday, seeking quashing of the transfer of Justice Dharma Chand Chaudhary from the Tribunal. Justice Chaudhary was transferred for allegedly passing strict orders against senior Government officials for non-implementation of AFT judgements.The Bar Association writes that, "...the Chairperson...
The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) Chandigarh Bench Bar Association has written to CJI D.Y Chandrachud on Monday, seeking quashing of the transfer of Justice Dharma Chand Chaudhary from the Tribunal. Justice Chaudhary was transferred for allegedly passing strict orders against senior Government officials for non-implementation of AFT judgements.
The Bar Association writes that, "...the Chairperson of AFT, whose extension is due in Nov 2023, has suddenly transferred the Judicial Member-cum-Head of Department (HOD) of Chandigarh Bench, Former Acting Chief Justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court Justice Dharam Chand Chaudhary, because he refused to buckle under pressure of the MoD and presumably the Chairperson, who did not want uncomfortable orders to be passed against the senior functionaries of MoD."
It further explains the chronological event preceding the transfer. Association said that Justice Chaudhary took a "grim view" for not implementing bunch of AFT judgements, and after repeated opportunities and non-adherence to submissions made on affidavit, issued bailable warrants against senior MoD officials.
The Association highlights that on 25 September, the Chairperson transferred Justice Chaudhary to the Kolkata Bench "for administrative reasons in public interest" and less than 12 hours were given to him to relinquish charge.
"It is truly heartbreaking that after steps were taken to get the orders of the AFT executed which were lying unimplemented since last so many years, the Chairperson has first transferred the contempt proceedings from Chandigarh Bench to himself and then also transferred the Judicial Member who was ensuring the compliance and adherence to the rule of law thereby saving judicial dignity," adds the Bar Association.
The Association also alleges that functioning of the AFT is brought under the MoD which provides all facilities, salaries, staff, infrastructure to the Chairperson and the Tribunal, which is in contempt of the law laid down by the Constitution benches of Supreme Court in UOI Vs R Gandhi (2010) and Madras Bar Association Vs UOI (2021).
In a further development in view of Justice Chaudhary's transfer, the Association has also passed a resolution to abstain from work till further orders.
Earlier in August, the Association had requested CJI D.Y. Chandrachud to take suo moto cognizance of the allegedly "shockingly contemptuous communication" issued by the D(AFT) Cell of the Ministry of Defence to the Principal Bench of AFT on July 28. In the communication, the Defence Secretary is stated to have demanded a report on the recent decisions on pay/pension matters by AFT Chandigarh "with analysis thereof".