The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms (CJAR), an NGO which has, among others, former Supreme Court judge P.B. Sawant and noted author Arundhati Roy as patrons, on Thursday condemned the “midnight transfer” of Justice S. Muralidhar from the Delhi High Court to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
In a statement, the NGO, which has senior Supreme Court lawyers like Prashant Bhushan as members, said the transfer had nothing to do with “public interest” . The entire purpose of the transfer was to “punish an honest and courageous judicial officer for simply carrying out his constitutional duties”.
‘Done his duty’
“We are fully cognisant 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 his transfer was issued on the evening he had done his duty to hold Delhi Police and the Union Government accountable for the loss of lives in the Delhi riots organised by the ruling party, tells us the true nature of his transfer,” the statement said.
On February 26, a Bench led by Justice Muralidhar directed tough questions at the Delhi Police, asking why First Information Reports had not yet been registered against leaders and Ministers of the ruling party at the Centre for making inflammatory remarks.
‘Punitive in nature’
The NGO said the nature of the Judge’s transfer is punitive and resembles those which were handed out to High Court judges during the Emergency period. “It resembles the petty vindictiveness of a government which superseded Justice H.R. Khanna for Chief Justiceship for authoring a dissent in ADM Jabalpur v Shiv Kant Shukla (Emergency case)” the CJAR said.