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Collegium recommends transfer of Delhi High Court’s Justice Muralidhar, two other judges

Representational image. File

Representational image. File  

Bar ‘shocked’ by Collegium decision.

The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended the transfer of Justice S. Muralidhar, who is third in the order of seniority in the Delhi High Court, along with two other transfer recommendations of judges.

The Collegium led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde has recommended to the government that Justice Muralidhar be shifted to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Collegium’s resolution, dated February 12, was uploaded on the Supreme Court website on Wednesday.

Two other high court judges have also been recommended for transfer in the same resolution. Bombay High Court judge, Justice Ranjit V. More, has been approved for transfer to the Meghalaya High Court, while the Collegium has recommended that Justice Ravi Vijaykumar Malimath of the Karnataka High Court be moved to the Uttarakhand High Court.

The Delhi High Court Bar Association expressed its “shock” at the recommendation to transfer Justice Muralidhar, who would become the second most senior judge of the Delhi High Court following the retirement of Justice G.S. Sistani in March 2020.

Eventually, had Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court D.N. Patel been elevated or retired by 2022, Justice Muralidhar, who is set to retire only in 2023, would have likely functioned for at least some time as the Acting Chief Justice of the high court.

Justice Muralidhar, who was elevated as a judge of the Delhi High Court in May 2006, has delivered many significant decisions. The judge, who had convicted politician Sajjan Kumar in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, had also revoked the transit remand of activist Gautam Navlakha in the Bhima Koregaon case.

In 2009, Justice Muralidhar was part of the Delhi High Court Bench which had decriminalised homosexuality. He refuses to be addressed as ‘Your Lordship’ by lawyers and gives them prior notice not to do so in the causelist itself.

In an emergency meeting held in the afternoon, the Delhi High Court Bar Association resolved to request its members to abstain from work on February 20 as a “token of protest as the transfer is a rarest of rare cases, the majesty of our revered institution is at stake”.

In January, the Supreme Court had, stayed a decision by a Bombay High Court Bench led by Justice More to allow the shifting of HDIL promoters Rakesh Wadhawan and Sarang Wadhawan — accused in the multi-crore Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank scam case — from Arthur Road Jail to their Bandra East residence.

Judges recommended for transfer can request the Collegium to reconsider its decision. Justice V.K. Tahilramani had resigned as Madras High Court Chief Justice in September 2019 after her request to reconsider her transfer to Meghalaya was turned down by the Collegium.

On February 15, Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari, the second in the order of seniority in the Bombay High Court, resigned citing personal problems.

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Printable version | Mar 29, 2020 12:44:16 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/collegium-recommends-transfer-of-delhi-hcs-justice-muralidhar-2-other-hc-judges/article30861713.ece

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