New Delhi, March 5 : Departing Delhi High Court judge Justice S. Muralidhar on Thursday appraised the judges and lawyers of the court about the sequence of communication about his transfer to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
In at address at his farewell event in the main building of the Delhi High Court, Justice Muralidhar said: “I was informed about it (the transfer) on February 17 and had no problem with it. On February 17, I had received a communication from the Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde on a recommendation made by the Collegium for my transfer.”
Accepting the communication, the judge said that he had replied that if at all, he has to be transferred from the Delhi High Court, he has no objection in going to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The Ministry of Law and Justice on February 26 notified the transfer of Justice Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
“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 SJustice 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,” a notification of the Ministry had said.
It sparked a controversy as on the very same day, a high court bench headed by Justice Muralidhar passed a series of orders with regards to the violence in Delhi’s northeast district and said that “another 1984-like situation cannot be allowed to happen in this city” under its watch.
“We have to be alert,” said Justice Muralidhar and ordered safe passage for collection of body of deceased, setting up of adequate number of helplines, and shelter to people who have been displaced among other things.
“We propose to appoint an amicus curie to coordinate between victims and agencies to ensure that prompt action is taken,” the court added.
The division bench, which also comprised Justice Talwant Singh, also said: “It is extremely unfortunate what has happened. This is the time to show that Z security works for everybody. Otherwise we cannot restore peace. Every victim should be visited by higher functionaries.”
The court said that confidence building measures should be taken and families must be assured that the law will work for them.
The Supreme Court Collegium on February 19 recommended the transfer of Muralidhar. The very next day, the Delhi High Court Bar Association announced a strike against the transfer.
In the resolution passed by it, the DHCBA expressed its “shock, dismay and outrage” at the decision to recommend the transfer “one of the finest judges to have adorned the Bench”.
“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. Such transfers also impede free and fair delivery of justice by the Honourable Bench,” it said.
The issue of the transfer, especially its timing, had also been raised by several opposition leaders.