Justice Muralidhar transfer: Congress says govt drunk on power, muzzling judiciary

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Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala. (PTI)

In a sharp reaction to the transfer of Delhi High Court judge Justice S Muralidhar, the Congress Thursday said the government was "drunk on power" and was "muzzling the judiciary". Addressing a press conference at the party headquarters in the national capital, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala hit out at the "brazenness and high-handedness of the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah-led government".

"It seems those doing justice in the country will now not be spared. The government is drunk on power and is muzzling the judiciary," Surjewala said.

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"Justice Muralidhar was transferred overnight. The country is shocked but no longer surprised at the brazenness, high-handedness of the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah government to shield those who have on record given hate speeches," he added.

Surjewala also called the transfer of the Delhi HC judge a classic case of "hit-and-run injustice" by the BJP government which has exposed its "politics of revenge".

"The intimidation and vendetta politics against the judiciary is now in the open," he added.

A notification was issued for the transfer of Justice Muralidhar to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday night, following approval of a February 12 recommendation to the effect from the Supreme Court Collegium. It came hours after he had ordered an FIR against BJP leaders over hate speeches.

Taking note of the violence in the national capital, Justice Muralidhar had questioned the conduct of the Delhi Police and directed it to register FIRs against those who made the speeches, saying “this city has seen enough violence” and “let it not repeat 1984” when anti-Sikh riots claimed over 2,700 lives in Delhi alone.

Earlier in the day, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra termed the transfer as “sad and shameful” and targeted the Centre for its “attempts to muzzle justice”.

“The midnight transfer of Justice Muralidhar isn’t shocking given the current dispensation, but it is certianly sad & shameful. Millions of Indians have faith in a resilient & upright judiciary, the government’s attempts to muzzle justice & break their faith are deplorable," Priyanka tweeted.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, meanwhile, tweeted: “Remembering the brave Judge Loya, who wasn’t transferred.”