Delhi High Court judge Justice Muralidhar’s transfer triggers war of words

Congress alleges foul play; Law Minister says party is politicising issue, due process has been followed.

February 27, 2020 08:40 am | Updated February 28, 2020 02:24 am IST - New Delhi

Justice S. Muralidhar

Justice S. Muralidhar

The Law Ministry late on Wednesday notified the transfer of Justice S. Muralidhar from Delhi High Court to Punjab and Haryana High Court after President Ram Nath Kovind gave his signatures to the order.

But the timing of the transfer has become controversial as the Congress accused the Central government of transferring Justice Muralidhar after a Bench comprising him and Justice Talwant Singh came down heavily on the Delhi police for not registering a case against BJP leaders for their hate speeches.

After the Law Ministry’s notification, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi not only attacked the government but also ‘remembered’ judge B.H. Loya , who died following a heart attack in December 2014 while he was handling the encounter case of Sohrabuddin Sheikh in which Home Minister Amit Shah’s name also figured.

Mr. Shah was discharged in the case but the Congress had levelled allegation of ‘foul play’ surrounding the death of 47-year-old judge Loya.

“Remembering the brave Judge Loya, who wasn’t transferred,” Mr. Gandhi tweeted, in a dig at the government over the transfer of the Delhi High Court judge.

Also read: Transfer done on recommendation of SC collegium, says Ravi Shankar Prasad

On February 12, the Supreme Court Collegium, that includes Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde, had recommended Justice Muralidhar’s transfer.

Justice Muralidhar is the third seniormost judge in the Delhi High Court after Chief Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Sistani.

When his transfer orders were first made public on February 19, the Delhi High Court Bar Association expressed shock and had condemned the recommendation of transfer “unequivocally’.

A day later, lawyers in the High Court had stayed away from court work to register their protest.

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