Amid row over transfer, Justice Muralidhar delivers last verdict in Delhi HC
Senior Delhi High Court judge, Justice S Muralidhar, bid adieu to the court by pronouncing a judgement along with Justice V Kameswar Rao in a reserved matter.
“This would be my last judicial act in this court,” Justice Muralidhar said. He is now headed to Punjab and Haryana high court after being transferred by the Centre. It issued a notification in this regard on Tuesday evening.
Justice Muralidhar’s transfer order came in the midst of hearing in a case on inflammatory speeches made by leaders of different political parties during Assembly elections and violence in the Northeast district. Among the three leaders who were pointed out by the petitioner in the case were from Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP): Kapil Sharma, Parvesh Verma and Anurag Thakur.
The bench headed by him had expressed “anguish” on Thursday over the Delhi Police’s failure to register FIRs against alleged hate speeches.
The case will now be heard at 2.15 pm by a bench headed by Delhi high court Chief Justice DN Patel.
The principal Opposition party Congress attacked the Centre over the “sudden” transfer calling it a classic “hit-and-run injustice” by the BJP government. Senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said the decision exposes the BJP’s “politics of revenge”.
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi called the move “sad and shameful”.
But the government hit back, saying the transfer was ordered on the recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde and was carried out with the “consent of the judge”. The Supreme Court collegium had recommended Justice Muralidhar’s transfer on February 12.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said the Congress had displayed its “scant regard for the judiciary” by politicising a routine transfer.
At the Delhi Hight Court, Justice Muralidhar is the third senior-most judge after Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice GS Sistani.
Justice Muralidhar started his law practice in 1984 in Chennai before shifting base to Delhi in 1987. He was appointed a judge of Delhi high court in May 2006 where he has served since then.