The President has accepted the resignation of Madras High Court Chief Justice V K Tahilramani.
The notification issued by the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justices says :
"Shrimati Justice Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani has tendered her resignation from the office of the Chief Justices of the Madras High Court, in pursuance to proviso (a) to clause (1) of Article 217 of the Constitution of India, with effect from the afternoon of 6th September 2019".
Justice Tahilramani's resignation is seemingly in protest of the Supreme Court collegium's proposal to transfer her to Meghalaya High Court. She had a term as HC judge till October 3, 2020.
The collegium consisting of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justices Bobde, Ramana, Arun Mishra and Nariman in a meeting held on September 3 had rejected Justice Tahilramani's request to reconsider the transfer proposal, which was originally made on August 28.
The collegium said that "it is not possible to accede to her request", while reiterating the proposal.
Justice Tahilramani, who became a judge of Bombay High Court in June 2001, was appointed as the Chief Justice of Madras High Court in August 2018.
Before judgeship, she had served as a public prosecutor in Bombay High Court from 1990, and had appeared in many landmark cases such as Bharat Shah's trial. As a judge, she had presided the bench which delivered sentence in the Bilkis Bano case arising out of Gujarat riots. The trial of that case was transferred to Maharashtra from Gujarat by the Supreme Court.
She also served as the Acting Chief Justice of Bombay High Court for a brief time.
The advocates of Madras High Court had launched protests over the transfer proposal, which was seen to be a move to 'downgrade' Justice Tahilramani.
Madras High Court, one of the chartered High Courts in India established during British times, has a sanctioned strength of 75 judges. Meghalaya High Court has at present two judges, including the Chief Justice, against a sanctioned strength of three judges.
A group of lawyers sent a representation to the Supreme Court seeking the withdrawal of the transfer proposal, saying "arbitrary transfers whittle away the independence of the judiciary and the confidence of judges".
They also boycotted Court proceedings on September 10, expressing protest.
After the transfer proposal became controversial, the Supreme Court Collegium issued a statement on September 12 stating that its decision was made for cogent reasons after complying with the required procedure in the interest of better administration of justice.
"Though it would not be in the interest of the institution to disclose the reasons for transfer, if found necessary, the Collegium will have no hesitation in disclosing the same", the statement read.
The Collegium has recommended the appointment of Meghalaya High Court Chief Justice A K as the CJ of Madras HC. Justice Mittal, who is junior to Justice Tahilramani by nearly three years service, assumed charge at Meghalaya HC nearly three months ago, on May 29.
The President has notified the appointment of Justice Vinay Kothari as the Acting Chief Justice of Madras High Court.
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