According to sources, CJ Tahilramani told a gathering of judges from the Madras High Court that she had decided to quit rather than accept the transfer to a smaller court.

Madras HC Chief Justice Tahilramani set to resign in protest over her transfer
news Law Friday, September 06, 2019 - 21:53

Madras High Court Chief Justice Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani is likely to resign rather than follow orders of her transfer to Meghalaya High Court. The Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi had on August 28 ordered the transfer of the CJ from Madras to Meghalaya. The Collegium had rejected her appeal asking for reconsideration of the transfer.

According to sources, on Friday, nearly a week after the decision to transfer her was first made, CJ Tahilramani told a gathering of judges from the Madras High Court that she had decided to resign. A member of her staff team told TNM that the judge was contemplating the resignation and was likely to write to the President on Saturday. A few sources say that the CJ has already sent her resignation to the President and CJI Gogoi, however her office refused to confirm the same.

“I am no more part of the system and will be sending in my resignation to the President of India and Chief Justice of India,” she reportedly told senior counsel Indira Jaising earlier.

Justice Tahilramani’s move comes after the collegium decided to shift her to the Meghalaya High Court in what is widely seen as a slight. Without stating any reasons, the collegium had recommended AK Mittal, Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court to be transferred to the Madras High Court, to take Tahilramani’s place.

The decision to move Chief Justice Tahilramani, who is one of the senior most judges and one among two women High Court Chief Justices in the country, to a smaller court like Meghalaya, was an unusual one. From being the CJ of a court that has a sanctioned strength of 75 judges, Justice Tahilramani was asked to head a High Court with just three judges. While it was an advancement for CJ Mittal, for Tahilramani, it was a step down.

Chief Justice Tahilramani had been acting CJ of the Mumbai High Court before getting transferred to Chennai and had presided over many important and controversial cases during the course of her tenure.

On May 4, 2017, she upheld the life imprisonment of 11 convicts in the gang rape of Bilkis Bano and the murder of her family during the 2002 Gujarat riots. She also set aside the acquittal of seven persons in the case including five police officers and two doctors, convicting them under sections 201 (tampering of evidence) and 218 (not performing duties) of the Indian Penal Code.

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