Justice Murlidhar’s transfer stoked controversy on Feb 19 itself, almost a week before his hearing on Delhi Riots

The Union Law Ministry has cleared the air around Justice Murlidhar’s transfer. The decision to transfer him to Punjab & Haryana High Court was taken 15 days ago by Supreme Court led collegium. His consent was already taken in this regard. After this transfer, he is first in line to become Chief Justice of Punjab & Haryana High Court. However it is learned that his transfer was controversial from Day 1 and the bar association had passed a resolution against his transfer on February 19 itself.

It has been alleged by Congress and other opposition parties that Justice Murlidhar was transferred because he came strict on Union Govt in a case related to Delhi Riots.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is the daughter of Congress President Sonia Gandhi took twitter to complain that Murlidhar’s transfer was shocking

“The midnight transfer of Justice Muralidhar isn’t shocking given the current dispensation, but it is certainly sad & shameful. Millions of Indians have faith in a resilient & upright judiciary, the government’s attempts to muzzle justice & break their faith are deplorable”, she said in a tweet.

However, the Union Law Ministry has clarified that Justice Murlidhar’s transferred was initiated on February 12, upon recommendation of Supreme Court Collegium. Only, the notification was issued today.

“Transfer of Hon’ble Justice Muralidhar was done pursuant to the recommendation dated 12.02.2020 of the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India. While transferring the judge consent of the judge is taken: Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in a tweet.

News reports from last week confirm that his consent was taken before the transfer. Besides, a transfer out of the Delhi High Court, his parent court, is considered a step closer towards his future elevation as the Chief Justice of a High Court.

When his transfer was earlier announced on February 19, it generated controversy that time itself. The Delhi High Court Bar Association had expressed shock and had condemned the transfer “unequivocally’. They also passed a resolution condemning the transfer. DHCBA also requesteed it members to abstain from work for one day as a token of protest claiming “the transfer is a rarest of rare case” due to which, “the majesty of our revered institution is at stake”.