Democratic Rights

Delhi High Court’s Justice Murlidhar Made to Pay for Refusing to Kneel!

That is the sole message which the Supreme Court Collegium is sending to the people of India. Moreover it is sending a signal to the Judiciary. The Collegium has transferred three Judges of three different High Courts whereas senior judges are not so transferred normally. And as is the practice established, except for two errant years of 2017 October to 2019 October, the Collegium need nor give any reason for such transfers, such is its majesty.

So we are left to our own devices, to figure out the reasons. This is a Judge who did and does take positions against the tide. Justice Shah and he decriminalized homosexuality in 2009. He was part of the Bench that brought the office of Chief Justice of India under the RTI Act. This is a Judge who dared to deliver a judgement convicting personnel of the UP PAC for the massacre of Muslims in Hashimpura. This was in 1987, the year he also convicted Congress leader Sajjan Kumar in the massacre of Sikhs in 1984 in Delhi. In 2018 he disallowed the remand of Gautam Navlakha, violating the established police raj wherein judges unquestioningly consent to police demands without subjecting it to legal scrutiny. He went further and went through the FIR and then stated that the FIR in the Bhima Koregaon case did not apply to Navlakha. For this application of mind to the merit of the police position, he was attacked for bias by RBI member and RSS ideologue Gurumurthy who was in turned charged with contempt by a judicial bench. In January 2019 it was reported that there were suggestions in the Supreme Court Collegium to transfer Justice Muralidhar out of Delhi but they were apparently not carried. Now the recommendation has been announced and there is the additional high and mighty cover of no reason needing to be announced.

The Delhi High Court Bar Association  held an emergency executive meeting and has observed strike on 20th February saying such transfers”….tend to erode and dislodge the faith of the common litigant” in the judiciary and also “impede free and fair delivery of Justice”. They have hit the nail on the head with that last observation- that is just what the current ruling dispensation is all out to impede and it regrettably seems the Higher Judiciary is showing all symptoms of giving in and repeatedly. In an atmosphere in which people throughout Delhi are on the streets, feeling the need to themselves come out and defend the Constitution, the Collegium must revisit its recommendation or the Central Govt. must turn it down. This is a transfer which is shaking the faith of even the Bar let alone citizens of Delhi.