The Ministry of Law and Justice on Wednesday transferred Justice S. Muralidhar of the Delhi High Court, who was hearing the hate speech FIR case related to the ongoing violence in the national capital, to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
"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 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," read a notification of the Law Ministry released on Wednesday.
Recently, the Supreme Court Collegium had recommended the transfer of Justice Muralidhar to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, along with the transfers of Bombay High Court judge Justice Ranjit More to the Meghalaya High Court and Karnataka High Court judge Justice Ravi Vijayakumar Malimath to the Uttarakhand High Court. The Centre's notification of the transfers came on Wednesday.
A hearing on Wednesday saw some pitched exchanges between Justice Muralidhar and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, after which it has emerged that Justice Muralidhar will no longer be hearing the petition filed by Harsh Mander. Mander has demanded FIRs to be registered against three BJP leaders whose hate speeches are alleged to have contributed to the ongoing violence in Delhi.
While Justices Muralidhar and Talwant Singh had orally said the case was to be listed before them again at 2:15 pm on Thursday, 27 February, the new causelist shows that the matter has been listed before Delhi High Court Chief Justice DN Patel, instead of them, the Quint reports.
Earlier in the day, a high court bench headed by Justice Muralidhar passed a series of orders with regard to the violence in North-East Delhi and said that "another 1984-like situation cannot be allowed to happen in the city under its watch."
"We have to be alert," said Muralidhar, as he ordered safe passage for the collection of the bodies of the deceased, setting up of adequate number of helplines and shelter to people who have been displaced, among other things.
The division bench also comprising Justice Talwant Singh ruled, "It is extremely unfortunate what has happened. This is the time to show that Z security works for everybody. Otherwise we cannot restore peace. Every victim should be visited by higher functionaries," the HC bench said.
On Thursday, the Congress slammed the BJP and said that the BJP feared that the conspiracy of the riots will get exposed and this is the reason why the judge has been transferred. In a tweet, Rahul Gandhi wrote "Remembering the brave Judge Loya, who wasnâ€™t transferred."
In response, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, in a series of tweets, responded that Justice Muralidhar was done on the recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium, and that process was followed. He added that the Congress was displaying scant regard for the judiciary by "politicising a routine transfer".
As many as 27 people have lost their lives while over 200 have been injured after clashes between pro and anti-CAA protesters turned violent in North-East Del.hi.
The court said that confidence building measures should be taken and families must be assured that the law will work for them.
Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court Bar Association (DHCBA) had on February 20 announced a strike against Muralidhar's transfer.
In a resolution, the DHCBA had expressed its "shock, dismay and outrage" at the decision to recommend the transfer of "one of the finest judges to have adorned the bench."
The resolution stated, "Such transfers are not only detrimental to our noble institution, but also tend to erode and dislodge the faith of the common litigant in the justice dispensation system. Such transfers also impede free and fair delivery of justice by the honourable bench."
With IANS inputs