Transfer of Justice Muralidhar is a “routine affair”, said the Government on Thursday adding that it was done pursuant to recommendation dated February 12 of the Supreme Court collegium headed by the Chief Justice of India.
Delhi High Court judge S Muralidhar, who had grilled the Centre and the police over the unprecedented violence in Northeast Delhi on Tuesday morning, was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court late night.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the transfer was done with the consent of the judge and added that a well-settled process has been followed.
By politicising a routine transfer, Congress has yet again displayed its scant regard for the judiciary. People of India have rejected Congress Party and hence it is hell bent on destroying the very institutions India cherishes by constantly attacking them.
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) February 27, 2020
According to report in Bar and Bench, notification from the Department of Justice in the Ministry of Law and Justice said, “In exercise of the power conferred by clause (1) of Article 222 of the Constitution of India, the President, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, is pleased to transfer Shri Justice S Muralidhar, Judge of the Delhi High Court, as a Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and to direct him to assume charge of his office in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.”
The notification follows the recommendation passed by the Collegium headed by Chief Justice of Indian S A Bobde.
Meanwhile, protesting Justice Muralidhar’s transfer, the Delhi High Court Bar Association had urged the Collegium to “revisit” and recall its recommendation, saying such transfers “tend to erode and dislodge the faith of the common litigant in the justice dispensation system”.
The Congress had also slammed the Centre for transferring Justice Muralidhar.
“Justice Muralidhar was transferred overnight. The country is no longer surprised at the brazenness, high-handedness of the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah govt to shield those who have on record given hate speeches,” Party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said.
Reacting on the allegation, Ravi Shankar Prasad said the “Congress has yet again displayed its scant regard for the judiciary by politicizing a routine transfer”.
“People of India have rejected Congress Party and hence it is hell-bent on destroying the very institutions India cherishes by constantly attacking them,” he claimed.
In a major development, the high court bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Talwant Singh had on Wednesday directed the Delhi Police to take a “conscious decision” on the registration of FIRs against three prominent political leaders — Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma — for alleged hate speeches and thereby inciting violence in the national capital.
Pulling up the city police, the Delhi High Court asked the former to sit and watch all videos of hate speeches made in the recent past and submit a report by today when it will hear the matter again.
The court has sought explanation on why there was such delay in registering FIRs in cases of hate speech.
The court also played the three speeches — including that of Kapil Mishra’s that was delivered hours before the violence — so that the Delhi Police and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who had denied watching the clips, could see them.
So far, 32 people have been killed in the riots that took place in northeast Delhi since Sunday evening. More than 250 people have been injured as armed mobs rampaged through parts of northeast Delhi on Monday and Tuesday, looting and burning buildings.