Days after the Supreme Court collegium made the recommendation, Delhi high court Justice Muralidhar was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana high court.
The judge was hearing the Delhi violence case and the late evening notification came on the day when a bench headed by him expressed “anguish” over the Delhi Police’s failure to register FIRs against alleged hate speeches by three Bharatiya Janata Party leaders.
A notification issued by the ministry of law and justice states that the president took the decision after consulting the Chief Justice of India.
The Supreme Court collegium had in its meeting held on February 12 recommended to transfer Justice Muralidhar from the Delhi high court to the Punjab and Haryana high court.
The Delhi High Court Bar Association last week condemned the transfer recommendation and also passed a resolution unanimously regarding this.
The Bar Association had expressed shock and dismay at the transfer of one of the finest judges by the collegium of the Supreme Court.
Condemning his transfer, the Bar Association had said: “Such transfers are not only detrimental to our noble Institution but also tend to erode and dislodge the faith of the common litigant in the justice dispensation system.”
The Delhi High Court Bar Association had requested for a revisit of the issue and to recall the move to transfer Muralidhar.
The Delhi High Court Bar Association also abstained from work last week as a token of protest against the transfer and said: “It is a rarest of rare case, the majesty of our revered institution is at stake.”
On Wednesday a division bench of Justice Muralidhar and Justice Talwant Singh, while hearing a plea seeking a judicial enquiry into the violence and registration of FIR against BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Pravesh Verma for allegedly making hate speeches.
Justice S Muralidhar along with Justice Anup J. Bhambhani also heard a matter related to Delhi violence on Tuesday midnight. They heard a plea seeking safe passage of injured victims of violence in New Delhi to medical institutions with adequate facilities.
Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Law Minister backed the move, saying transfer of Justice Muralidhar was done pursuant to recommendation dated 12.02.2020 of the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India. While transferring the judge consent of the judge is taken. The well settled process has been followed.
He further said , by politicizing a routine transfer, Congress has yet again displayed its scant regard for the judiciary. People of India have rejected Congress Party & hence it’s hell-bent on destroying the very institutions India cherishes by constantly attacking them.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra in their respective tweets had slammed the move .
Remembering the brave Judge Loya, who wasn’t transferred.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 27, 2020
Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted
The midnight transfer of Justice Muralidhar isn’t shocking given the current dispensation, but it is certianly sad & shameful.
Millions of Indians have faith in a resilient & upright judiciary, the government’s attempts to muzzle justice & break their faith are deplorable. pic.twitter.com/KKt4IeAMyv
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) February 27, 2020