The Union government has notified the transfer of Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee to the Meghalaya 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 Shri Justice Sanjib Banerjee, Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, as the Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court and to direct him to assume charge of the office of the Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court,” said a notification from the Union Ministry of Law and Justice issued on November 15, Monday. The notification will now have to be approved by the President of India.
Justice Sanjib Banerjee's impending transfer has triggered a big row in Tamil Nadu. Senior advocates of the Madras High Court on Monday held a protest march against the Supreme Court collegium's decision to transfer Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee to Meghalaya. Almost all the senior advocates of the Madras High court participated in the protest march. The Bar association of the Madras High Court has already passed a resolution against the transfer of the Chief Justice to a relatively very small state.
Justice Sanjib Banerjee, who joined Madras High Court as its Chief Justice, has only served for ten months since January 2021. He brought out several landmark judgments antagonising the power centres at both state and Union governments. In its resolution, the bar association said it was deeply concerned with the opaqueness surrounding the transfers.
The protesting advocates want the transfer to be cancelled or dropped so that Justice Sanjib Banerjee continues in office. He was serving at the Kolkata High Court before his transfer to Tamil Nadu.
Meghalaya High Court is a smaller court compared to Madras High Court. It has just three judges compared to the Madras High Court strength of a sanctioned 75 judges.