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Govt should have been careful in issuing Justice Muralidhar's transfer order: Ex-CJI

Govt should have been careful in issuing Justice Muralidhars transfer order: Ex-CJI

New Delhi: The government should have been a "little careful" while issuing the "midnight" order transferring Delhi High Court Judge S Muralidhar to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, former Chief Justice of India Justice K G Balakrishnan has said, amid a row over the timing of the transfer.

The transfer order was issued by the Union Law and Justice Ministry on February 26, the day a bench headed by Justice Muralidhar expressed "anguish" over Delhi Police's failure to register FIRs against alleged hate speeches by three BJP leaders. The government has said the transfer had nothing to do with any case as a recommendation to this effect was already made by the Supreme Court Collegium and the judge had also given his consent.

Justice Balakrishnan said it was a mere coincidence that the final transfer notification was issued on the day when he passed the order on the hate speeches because his shift to had been already contemplated by the Supreme Court collegium a week ago.

"I don't know on what date the transfer issue came up before the collegium," he added. Justice Muralidhar's transfer has nothing to do with the observations he made while hearing the Delhi violence case, the former CJI said.

"When the situation in the country is so volatile and media and others are active the government should have been little careful while issuing such midnight transfer order as there are chances of people thinking otherwise. The people could interpret differently," Justice Balakrishnan said.

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