On Wednesday, Delhi High Court Judge, Justice S Muralidhar grilled the Central, State governments along with Delhi Police department over the violence that has engulfed the National Captial since Sunday has been transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. According to officials, the transfer is part of routine transfers that are recommended by the Supreme Court of India.
In the violence that has its epicentre in NorthEast Delhi has taken lives of over 32 people so far and left almost 250 people injured.
The notification of the transfer of Justice Muralidhar was issued by the Central Government at close to 11:00 PM on Wednesday night. Justice S Muralidhar is the third-highest ranking judge of Delhi High Court.
The notification issued by the centre came in after 2 weeks of Supreme Court collegium’s recommendation of 12th February.
It was inferred that Justice Muralidhar was to join the Punjab and Haryana High Court immediately, but in the transfer notification, there was no mention of the time frame for the judge to join the new post.
Based on the cases of 6 latest transfers, usually, these orders give a judge 14 days to join the new post.
The notification issued by the government 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”.
Last week, the Delhi High Court Bar Association criticised the transfer and demanded a rollback from the Supreme Court collegium.
On Wednesday, Justice S Muralidhar scolded the governments – both Centre and State – and the police department and said, “We cannot let another 1984-like event happen in this country”. He ordered the governments to work together in tackling the violence and getting the situation under control.
The comment came in during a hearing in the High Court of Delhi where videos of 4 BJP leader – Parvesh Verman, Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, and Abhay Verma – were played which showed their hate speeches. The hearing was on a petition which sought for an FIR (First Information Report) against all those who incited and participated in the Violence that consumed the NorthEast region of Delhi, killing 32 and injuring almost 250 people.
The judge asked why shouldn’t the police file an FIR against the 4 BJP leaders? He asked the Delhi Police Commissioner to “seriously consider the consequences” if FIRs are not registered.
When Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, who represented Centre government argued that FIRs will be registered at “appropriate time”, Justice Muralidhar said, “What’s the appropriate time, Mr Mehta? The city is burning”.
The judge asked the police to appear in the court on Thursday with a complete report, and the case will not be heard by Justice Dhirubhai Naranbhai Patel, Chief Justice of Delhi High Court.
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was among those who condemned the overnight transfer of Justice Muralidhar and wrote “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” on Twitter.
The midnight transfer of Justice Muralidhar isn’t shocking given the current dispensation, but it is certianly sad & shameful.— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) February 27, 2020
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