The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended the transfer of Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee to the Meghalaya High Court. Meghalaya High Court is a smaller court compared to Madras High Court, with just three judges compared to the Madras HC strength of a sanctioned 75 judges. According to a statement uploaded on the apex court website, the collegium headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, in its meeting held on September 16, has also recommended the transfer of Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari of the Allahabad High Court to the Madras High Court.
"The Supreme Court Collegium in its meeting held on September 16, 2021 has recommended transfer of Justice Sanjib Banerjee, Chief Justice, Madras High Court to Meghalaya High Court,â€ť said one of the statements uploaded on the apex court website. In addition to the CJI, Justices UU Lalit and AM Khanwilkar are part of the three-member collegium which currently takes decisions with regard to transfer of high court judges.
The recommendation made by the Collegium will now be forwarded to the Union government and then to the President for approval.
In 2019, the recommendation by the Supreme Court Collegium to transfer the then Madras High Court Chief Justice to Meghalaya High Court had created a big row in Tamil Nadu. Justice Vijaya Tahilramani had resigned in protest over her transfer to Meghalaya High Court. The collegiumâ€™s decision then had raised eyebrows, since Justice Tahilramani was being moved from a court with a sanctioned strength of 75 judges to a smaller court with just three judges.
Justice Sanjib Banerjee completed his BSc with Hons in Economics from Calcutta University in 1983 and his LLB from the same University in 1986-87. He was enrolled as an advocate in November 1990. Justice Banerjee has practiced in High Courts including Bombay, Karnataka, Orissa, Patna, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana. He was elevated as a permanent judge on June 22, 2006.
Justice Sanjib Banerjee has been at the Madras High Court for less than a year and during the time also took suo motu cognisance of several issues during the second wave of the pandemic.
During his tenure as the Chief Justice, he has also taken several government agencies to task, including the Election Commission which he said should be booked for murder for failing to ensure COVID-19 norms were followed during rallies, and called the agency singularly responsible for the second wave. He also pulled up the Greater Chennai Corporation for its efforts to prevent inundation in the city during the recent rains. It has failed in its attempts to mitigate the sufferings of the affected people due to the water-logging because of the incessant rains.
"What the authorities were doing for the past five years after the 2015 deluge?" the bench asked, warning officials that it would not hesitate to initiate suo motu proceedings if the situation is not improved within a week.
With PTI inputs