India / ‘Classic hit-and-run injustice by BJP’: Cong on transfer of Delhi HC judge

Hindustan Times : Feb 27, 2020, 12:07 PM

New Delhi: The Congress has attacked the Centre over transfer of Justice S Muralidhar from Delhi High Court to Punjab and Haryana High Court.

“This is a classic case of hit-and-run injustice by the BJP government,” Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said while addressing a press conference on Thursday morning. “It looks like those ho give justice in the country won’t be spared,” he added.

“Justice Muralidhar was hearing cases against BJP leaders who have made inflammatory speeches. This has exposed the politics of revenge and pressure practiced by the BJP,” Surjewala added.

The notification, issued on late Tuesday evening, said Justice Muralidhar was directed to assume charge as a judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The Supreme Court collegium - the panel of the apex court’s top three judges led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A Bobde - had recommended Justice Muralidhar’s transfer on February 12.

The Delhi High Court Bar Association had responded to the recommendation with shock and “unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms” condemned the recommendation. High court lawyers had also abstained from work for one day in protest on February 20.

The collegium’s decision was considered unusual by the lawyers because senior high court judges are transferred from their parent high court only to take over as Chief Justice of a high court.

Transfer of a high court judge to another high court as senior judge who is not a chief justice is many times viewed as a punishment transfer.

At the Delhi High Court, Justice Muralidhar is the third senior-most judge after chief justice DN Patel and justice GS Sistani.

Just hours before the government issued orders for his transfer, Justice Muralidhar had held a midnight hearing at his residence to order the police to rescue 22 people stuck in a local hospital in north-east Delhi, one of the many trouble spots in the eastern part of the national capital that was affected due to communal riots.

On Wednesday afternoon, Justice Muralidhar had led the bench that took the Delhi Police to task for not registering FIRs against BJP politicians and others for hate speeches recorded on tape.

Justice Muralidhar started his law practice in 1984 in Chennai before shifting base to Delhi in 1987. He was appointed a judge of Delhi high court in May 2006 where he has served since then.