Justice Muralidhar was known for his bold pronouncements (File photo)
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra Thursday said it was "sad and shameful" that Justice S Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. She also targeted the Centre for its "attempts to muzzle justice". Read in Bengali
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, meanwhile, tweeted: "Remembering the brave Judge Loya, who wasn’t transferred."
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Hours after Justice Muralidhar pulled up the Dehli Police over its inaction in filing FIRs against BJP leaders who made hate speeches and expressed "anguish" over the communal violence in northeast Delhi, a notification was issued approving a February 12 recommendation of the Supreme Court Collegium to transfer him to the Punjab and Haryana HC.
Along with a screenshot of the transfer letter, Priyanka tweeted, "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".
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. pic.twitter.com/KKt4IeAMyv
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) February 27, 2020
A transfer notification from the Department of Justice in the Ministry of Law and Justice said, "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 Shri Justice 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".
Remembering the brave Judge Loya, who wasn’t transferred.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 27, 2020
Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said, "Justice Muralidhar was transferred overnight. The country is no longer surprised at the brazenness, high-handedness of the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah govt to shield those who have on record given hate speeches".
Protesting Justice Muralidhar’s transfer, the Delhi High Court Bar Association had urged the Collegium to “revisit” and recall its recommendation, saying such transfers “tend to erode and dislodge the faith of the common litigant in the justice dispensation system”.
Known for his bold pronouncements on communal violence and personal liberty, Justice Muralidhar delivered the Hashimpura verdict, convicting personnel of the Uttar Pradesh PAC for the 1987 mass killings, and also convicted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar for his role in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.
He was part of the two-judge bench along with then Chief Justice A P Shah that delivered the landmark verdict decriminalising homosexuality.