Madras HC CJ transfer: 'Fringe' group mudslinging judiciary, say lawyers backing move

A memorandum asks for action to be taken against members of the “fringe group”, which they say is carrying out activities “which are detrimental to the judicial functioning”.
Madras High Court building
Madras High Court building
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Over 700 advocates, supporting the transfer of Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee to Meghalaya, have signed and sent a memorandum to the Chief Justice of India, NV Ramana, seeking action against whom they described as a "fringe group" that was opposed to the apex court Collegium decision to shift Justice Banerjee. As many as 754 advocates have signed the memorandum seeking action against the so-called 'fringe' group of agitating advocates, including 32 designated senior ones, for allegedly indulging in 'mudslinging' against the judiciary.

The memorandum has been sent to the Chief Justice, Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) former president RC Paul Kanakaraj told PTI. Among other things, it stated that the fringe group was not against the policy of transfer of judges but only opposed that of a particular judge, for reasons unknown. "It is unfortunate that a fringe group of advocates keep creating such situations, which not only interfered with the administration in the Judicial system but also created a bad opinion about the entire judiciary among the public."

"This would lead to the public losing confidence in the judicial system. From the manner the said fringe group conducted themselves, it could be seen that they indulged in mudslinging on the judiciary only with malafide intentions of demeaning the judiciary among the citizens. Hence, we, the advocates who have undersigned, request the Chief Justice of India and the president of the All India Bar Council to take necessary action against the members of the fringe group for their activities which are detrimental to the judicial functioning," the memorandum added.

The Supreme Court collegium's proposal transferring Justice Sanjib Banerjee to Meghalaya High Court has snowballed into a controversy with voices for and against the shifting of the senior judge. Earlier, the MHAA and the Madras Bar Association had passed resolutions protesting against the proposal to shift the CJ. Over 30 senior advocates of the High Court had also joined those protesting against the transfer, even as 237 lawyers had written to the CJI and the collegium last week, seeking to reconsider the transfer of Justice Banerjee.

Meanwhile, Kanakaraj, also president of the BJP's state Legal Wing told PTI that it was unfortunate that the "fringe group" was indulging in mudslinging on the judiciary only with malafide intention of demeaning the judiciary among the members of the public. The President of India had accorded his formal consent to the transfer on Monday, he pointed out. The Union government, which had no role to play in the matter, was unnecessarily dragged and the matter was politicised, he alleged.

There was no involvement of the Union government. The decision was taken purely by the Supreme Court CJ and its Collegium, which was constitutionally authorised to do so. he added.

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