Opp cries foul; Govt says rule followed after SC Collegium recommended transfer on Feb 12
The Government’s decision to shift Delhi High Court judge Justice S Muralidhar, hours after he slammed the police for not registering a case against three BJP leaders for their alleged hate speeches, has triggered a major row.
While the Congress said the “midnight” notification was “shameful”, the Centre accused the Opposition party of politicising a “routine” shift on the February 12 recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium.
The Opposition has flagged “timing” of the decision as its main concern and also reminded the Centre that it sat on Supreme Court’s collegium recommendation for months when it did not suit its interests.
The Union Law Ministry on Wednesday issued three separate notifications for the transfer of Justice Muralidhar and two other judges — Justice Ranjit Vasantrao More of the Bombay High Court and Justice Ravi Vijay Kumar Malimath of the Karnataka High Court. Justice Muralidhar was transferred to the Punjab & Haryana High Court.
The notifications said President Ram Nath Kovind approved the transfers after consulting the Chief Justice of India.
The Supreme Court Collegium, in a meeting on February 12, had recommended transfer of Justice Muralidhar to Punjab and Haryana High Court.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Justice Muralidhar was transferred on the recommendation of the Supreme Court Collegium and accused the Opposition party of politicising a routine transfer.
He added that a “well-settled process” was followed in the transfer.
At the BJP party briefing, senior leader and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the transfer was in line with the recommendation of the Collegium. The recommendation was made on February 12.
The Congress alleged that the transfer of Justice Muralidhar was aimed at saving some BJP leaders in the Delhi violence case and exposed the Government’s “intimidation and vendetta politics” against the judiciary.
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra accused the Government of making attempts to “muzzle” justice and “break people’s faith in an upright judiciary”.
“The midnight transfer of Justice Muralidhar isn’t shocking given the current dispensation, but it is certainly sad and shameful,” she tweeted.
Taking a dig at the Government over what he called Muralidhar’s sudden transfer, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Remembering the brave Judge Loya, who wasn’t transferred.”
Special CBI judge BH Loya, who was hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, died in alleged mysterious circumstances on December 1, 2014.
At a Press conference on the issue of Justice Muralidhar’s transfer, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala alleged that the BJP Government was “waging a battle of revenge” against the judiciary. He called the transfer a classic case of “hit-and-run injustice” by the Government.
The judge who reminded the Government of its ‘raj dharma’ and initiated and directed action against the BJP leaders making inflammatory statements was transferred overnight from the Delhi High Court, he said.
Hitting back at the Congress over the allegations, Law Minister Prasad said, “By politicising a routine transfer, the Congress has yet again displayed its scant regard for the judiciary.”
“Transfer of Hon’ble Justice Muralidhar was done pursuant to the recommendation dated February 12 of the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India,” Prasad said in a series of tweets.
Referring to a tweet by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on the death of Judge Loya, the Union Minister said the Loya judgment had been well-settled by the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR) said the 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.
CJAR said it knows that Justice Muralidhar’s transfer was recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium on February 12 but the rushed manner in which the notification has been issued by the Union Government cannot be ignored.
The fact that the notification for Justice Muralidhar’s transfer was issued in the evening after he held the Delhi Police and the Central Government accountable for the Delhi riots tells the true nature of his transfer, the CJAR claimed.
CJAR claimed that judges have been given reasonable time in transfer orders, but Justice Muralidhar’s was with immediate effect. This highlights the “punitive nature” of this move, it said.
Friday, 28 February 2020 | PNS | New Delhi
You might also like
- Slugfest over judge’s transfer February 28, 2020
- Violence ends, fear reigns February 28, 2020
- CBSE Class X, XII exams on Feb 28, 29 in NE Delhi cancelled February 28, 2020
- CM launches slew of development works worth more than Rs 100 crore February 28, 2020
- 14th State Science & Technology Congress starts in Doon February 28, 2020