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CJAR Seeks Recall Of CJ Sanjib Banerjee's Transfer; Calls For Transparency In Appointments & Transfers By Collegium

Sparsh Upadhyay
15 Nov 2021 6:20 AM GMT
CJAR Seeks Recall Of CJ Sanjib Banerjees Transfer; Calls For Transparency In Appointments & Transfers By Collegium
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Expressing 'deep concern and disappointment' with the decision of the Supreme Court collegium to transfer Chief Justice Sanjib Bannerjee of the Madras High Court to the Meghalaya High Court, The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform (CJAR) has sought the recall of the Collegium's decision.In its official statement, CJAR has said that in the absence of any material justification for...

Expressing 'deep concern and disappointment' with the decision of the Supreme Court collegium to transfer Chief Justice Sanjib Bannerjee of the Madras High Court to the Meghalaya High Court, The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform (CJAR) has sought the recall of the Collegium's decision.

In its official statement, CJAR has said that in the absence of any material justification for the transfer, an adverse inference is likely to be drawn that Justice Bannerjee is being "punished" for some reason, however, the statement adds that this may not be the intention of the collegium.

Significantly, CJAR has also expressed its deep disappointment that the transfer of Justice Bannerjee adheres to a recent pattern where the collegium's decisions have conformed to the wishes of the Union Government.

"Whether it is in the refusal to nominate Justice Akil Kureshi, the acquiescence of the Union Government's pick-and-choose policy for appointment of High Court judges or the lack of strong backing given to nominees who are being rejected without reasons by the Union Government, we find a consistent pattern of the collegium refusing to conform to the Second and Third Judges' cases and the Memorandum of Procedure prepared in accordance," the Statement of CJAR adds further.

CJAR has also noted that Justice Bannerjee's record as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court has been exemplary.

"Not only has he upheld the highest traditions of impartiality and neutrality to adjudication, he has shown his commitment to constitutional values in numerous cases relating to the management of Covid, free speech on the internet, secularism and free and fair elections in the State of Tamil Nadu," the statement adds further.

Read about some of the notable rulings of CJ Banerjee here: Notable Interventions Of Madras HC Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee, Now Proposed To Be Transferred To Meghalaya HC

Noting with concern that the resolution to transfer Justice Bannerjee, dated 16th September 2021 was made public on the 9th of November, 2021 on the website of the Supreme Court, CJAR has also questioned the absence of a timely reasoned decision made available on the Supreme Court website.

Calling it an unsavory practice that gives rise to insinuations that the resolution was backdated, CJAR has called upon the collegium to upload its reasoned resolutions within twenty-four hours of the meeting, keeping in mind the right of the public to know the important decisions regarding appointments and transfers and to bring in greater transparency and accountability in the functioning of the collegium system.

Against this backdrop, CJAR has called upon the collegium to:

  • Recall its resolution to transfer Justice Bannerjee from the Madras High Court to the Meghalaya High Court.
  • Place on record the material and the basis for the decision to transfer Justice Bannerjee from the Madras High Court to the Meghalaya High Court.
  • Uphold the independence and integrity of the judiciary in the manner in which it participates in the judicial appointment process

In related news, over 200 practicing advocates of the Madras High Court have written to the Chief Justice of India, N.V.Ramana, and other four members of the Collegium expressing their anguish over the seemingly abrupt decision of transferring CJ Banerjee.

The Madras Bar Association has also passed a resolution urging the Supreme Court Collegium to reconsider the recommendations to transfer CJ Sanjib Banerjee to Meghalaya High Court.

Read/Download the statement of CJAR here

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