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CJAR, Senior Lawyers Condemn Justice Muralidhar's Transfer In The Middle of 'Delhi Riots Case' Hearing

Nilashish Chaudhary
27 Feb 2020 11:53 AM GMT
CJAR, Senior Lawyers Condemn Justice Muralidhars Transfer In The Middle of Delhi Riots Case Hearing
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The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms has condemned the transfer of Justice S. Muralidhar from the Delhi High Court to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

CJAR has issued the following statement in this regard;

"This transfer has nothing to do with "public interest" and everything to do with punishing an honest and courageous judicial officer for simply carrying out his constitutional duties.


We are fully cognizant that Justice Muralidhar's transfer was recommended by the Supreme Court collegium on 12th February but the rushed manner in which the notification has been issued by the Union Government cannot be ignored. The fact that the notification for his transfer was issued on the evening he had done his duty to hold Delhi Police and the Union Government accountable for the loss of lives in the Delhi riots organized by the ruling party, tells us the true nature of his transfer. That Justice Muralidhar had raised tough questions about the conduct of sitting Ministers of the Union Government, MLAs and other high officials seems to have influenced this move.


Whereas previous judges have been given reasonable time to make the move to the transferred High Courts, that Justice Muralidhar's transfer was to take place with immediate effect, only highlights the punitive nature of this move. If this was indeed a transfer with the consent of the judge, no element of consideration seems to have been given by the Union Government in ordering him to make the move".

It is also stated that the transfer of Justice Muralidhar resembles the punitive transfers undertaken during Emergency by the then Congress government, against High Court judges who had simply done their constitutional duty. It resembles the petty vindictiveness of a government which superseded Justice HR Khanna for Chief Justiceship for authoring a dissent in ADM Jabalpur v Shiv Kant Shukla.

"It is unbecoming of a constitutional government to engage in such acts of vendetta against other constitutional authorities. Such transfers violate all norms of constitutional conduct and the protection of human rights".

Senior Advocate and Supreme Court Bar Association President Dushyant Dave told the reporters that the the transfer is part of routine process but the manner and haste in which the transfer is done is absolutely malafide and punitive.

Senior Advocate Sanjay Hegde told LiveLaw that the recommendation was speedily acted upon and transfer was notified only after the hearing yesterday in Harsh Mander's matter. While it is technically correct that govt acted upon the Collegium's recommendation, the timing of the transfer order immediately after Delhi HC hearing into violence, coupled with the request from SG to defer the hearing of matter by a day makes the govt action look suspect.

"There have been earlier attempts to transfer J Muralidhar, and at that point of time senior judges of SC who had originally been in the Delhi HC had protested.It appears that collegium manages to finally get J Muralidhar's consent on 12.2.2020 for being transferred and recommendation was made on 12 February.

However, that recommendation was speedily acted upon and transfer was notified only after the hearing yesterday in Harsh Mander's matter. While it is technically correct that govt acted upon the Collegium's recommendation, the timing of the transfer order immediately after Delhi HC hearing into violence, coupled with the request from SG to defer the hearing of matter by a day makes the govt action look suspect".

Advocate Kamini Jaiswal has said that there has been a consistent effort to move Justice Muralidhar out of the Delhi High Court which is very unfortunate for the Delhi High Court and the Bar since we have lost a good judge. It is even more unfortunate that the order was passed at 11pm without giving him any time to move out.

"This raises a lot of questions. The government cannot hide behind the recommendation of the Collegium. There is no reason why he should have been shifted at this juncture, except if he was being shifted as the Chief Justice of another High Court", she added.

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