Justice Muralidhar was transferred Wednesday, hours after he pulled up the Delhi Police for its inaction in filing FIRs against BJP leaders who made hate speeches and expressed “anguish” over the communal violence in northeast Delhi.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Thursday said a "well-settled process" was followed in the transfer of Delhi High Court judge Justice S Muralidhar to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, and pointed out that consent of the judge is taken in the decision.
Justice Muralidhar was transferred Wednesday, hours after he pulled up the Delhi Police for its inaction in filing FIRs against BJP leaders who made hate speeches and expressed “anguish” over the communal violence in northeast Delhi. The notification was issued following approval of a February 12 recommendation by the Supreme Court Collegium.
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"Transfer of Hon’ble Justice Muralidhar was done pursuant to the recommendation dated 12.02.2020 of the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India. While transferring the judge consent of the judge is taken. The well settled process have been followed," Prasad tweeted.
Hitting out at the Congress for "politicising" the issue, Prasad said, "By politicising a routine transfer, Congress has yet again displayed its scant regard for the judiciary. People of India have rejected Congress Party and hence it is hellbent on destroying the very institutions India cherishes by constantly attacking them.
"The Loya judgement has been well settled by the Supreme Court. Those raising questions do not respect the judgment of the Apex Court pronounced after elaborate arguments. Does Rahul Gandhi consider himself above even the Supreme Court?" he added.
Prasad iterated the BJP respects the independence of the judiciary. "Record of Congress in compromising independence of judiciary, superseding judges even of Supreme Court during Emergency is well known. They rejoice only when the judgment is of their liking otherwise raise questions on the institutions itself."
He also said the Congress does not have any right to "lecture about objectionable speeches".
"The family & its cronies have routinely used the harshest words against the Courts, the Army, the CAG, the PM and the people of India," Prasad said.
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”.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, meanwhile, tweeted: “Remembering the brave Judge Loya, who wasn’t transferred.”
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” and added that the government was “drunk on power” and was “muzzling the judiciary”.
Justice Muralidhar's transfer notification read: "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".
Protesting Justice Muralidhar’s transfer, the Delhi High Court Bar Association has 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”.