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Home / India News / Centre notifies Justice S Muralidhar’s transfer from Delhi HC to Punjab and Haryana HC

Centre notifies Justice S Muralidhar’s transfer from Delhi HC to Punjab and Haryana HC

The notification, issued on late Tuesday evening, said Justice Muralidhar was directed to assume charge as a judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

india Updated: Feb 27, 2020 06:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
At the Delhi Hight Court, Justice Muralidhar is the third senior-most judge after chief justice DN Patel and justice GS Sistani.
At the Delhi Hight Court, Justice Muralidhar is the third senior-most judge after chief justice DN Patel and justice GS Sistani.(File photo)

President Ram Nath Kovind ‪on Tuesday signed off on the transfer of Justice S Muralidhar from Delhi High Court to Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The notification, issued on late Tuesday evening, said Justice Muralidhar was directed to assume charge as a judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The Supreme Court collegium - the panel of the apex court’s top three judges led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A Bobde - had recommended Justice Muralidhar’s transfer on February 12.

The Delhi High Court Bar Association had responded to the recommendation with shock and “unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms” condemned the recommendation. High court lawyers had also abstained from work for one day in protest on February 20.

Also read: Delhi High Court reprimands Delhi cops for inaction over provocative video clips

The collegium had decided to make the recommendation at its meeting on February 12, but had made it public only on February 19.

The collegium’s decision was considered unusual by the lawyers because senior high court judges are transferred from their parent high court only to take over as Chief Justice of a high court.

Transfer of a high court judge to another high court as a puisne judge - senior judge who is not a chief justice - is many times viewed as a punishment transfer.

At the Delhi Hight Court, Justice Muralidhar is the third senior-most judge after chief justice DN Patel and justice GS Sistani.

Just hours before the government issued orders for his transfer, Justice Muralidhar had held a midnight hearing at his residence to order the police to rescue 22 people stuck in a local hospital in north-east Delhi, one of the many trouble spots in the eastern part of the national capital that was affected due to communal riots.

On Wednesday afternoon, Justice Muralidhar had led the bench that took the Delhi Police to task for not registering FIRs against BJP politicians and others for hate speeches recorded on tape.

Also read: Cops ‘didn’t respond’ to SOS, judges step in at midnight hearing

When the Centre’s second most-senior law officer Tushar Mehta told the judges that he hadn’t seen the clips, the bench played a sample of four clips; some on the giant screens in the courtroom.

The court had also rejected the Centre’s plea to put off the hearing and ordered the police commissioner to examine all video clips of hate speech and register FIRs.

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.

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.

At the high court, Justice Muralidhar had passed crucial judgments in sensitive matters. He was part of the bench which had, in 2009, decriminalized homosexuality by striking down section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. This judgment was later overruled by the Supreme Court in 2013 before the top court eventually struck down the provision in September 2018 in another case.