Delhi HC judge Muralidhar moved to Punjab & Haryana HC

Delhi HC judge S Muralidhar transferred to Punjab & Haryana High Court

Justice S Muralidhar. Credit: Twitter (@NyayaForum)

Justice S Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court was on Wednesday evening transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, hours after he rebuked the Delhi police for failing to lodge FIRs against the BJP leaders for inflammatory speeches.

A notification in this regard was issued by the Law Ministry. 

Justice Muralidhar's name was recommended for transfer by the Supreme Court Collegium on February 12.

He on Wednesday had questioned why Delhi police failed to lodge FIRs against leaders who made provocative speeches before the violence broke out in north-east Delhi.

Though, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad claimed the transfer was a "routine affair", the very timing of the move has raised concern and question marks.

Senior advocate and Supreme Court Bar Association President Dushyant Dave called the timing of notification as "mala fide and punitive".

The notification of his transfer did not specify or grant any time to Justice Muralidhar, indicating that it was with immediate effect. This was contrary to the normal practice of giving 14 days to the transferred judge to take charge.

There was a sufficient indication that notification on his transfer would be coming on Wednesday itself as the petition, filed by activist Harsh Mander in which he along with Justice A J Bhambhani had quizzed the police over their failure to lodge FIR against BJP leaders Anurag Thakur, Parvesh Verma and Kapil Mishra, was posted for further hearing before Chief Justice D N Patel-led bench on Thursday.

Notably, the Delhi High Court Bar Association had earlier condemned the Collegium's decision to transfer Justice Muralidhar and decided to abstain from the courts for one day, in view of his huge popularity for bold judgements, including decriminalisation of homosexuality, allowing disclosure of SC judges assets under the RTI, conviction of former Congress MP Sajjan Kumar in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case.

Justice Muralidhar has remained as a judge in the Delhi High Court since his appointment in 2006. His transfer to Punjab and Haryana High Court was said to have been affected after taking his consent. He is likely to assume as the Chief Justice over there after the retirement of the incumbent judge.

On Thursday, he attended the bench in the High Court to pronounce a judgement.

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