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Transfer of HC judge Muralidhar: Centre calls it 'routine', Cong says 'shameful'

Transfer of HC judge Muralidhar: Centre calls it routine, Cong says shameful

New Delhi: Hours after Justice Muralidhar pulled up the Delhi Police over its inaction in filing FIRs against BJP leaders who made hate speeches and expressed "anguish" over the communal violence in north-east Delhi, a notification in this regard was issued approving a February 12 recommendation of the Supreme Court Collegium to transfer him to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

The Union Law ministry on Wednesday night had issued three separate notifications for the transfer of Justice Muralidhar and two other judges — Justice Ranjit Vasantrao More of the Bombay High Court and Justice Ravi Vijay Kumar Malimath of the Karnataka High Court.

The notifications said President Ram Nath Kovind had approved the transfers after consulting the Chief Justice of India.

The transfer of the High Court judge has instigated a political war of words among the Centre and the Opposition.

Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said: "Justice Muralidhar was transferred overnight. The country is no longer surprised at the brazenness, high-handedness of the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah government to shield those who have on record given hate speeches".

The judge who reminded the government of its 'Raj Dharma' and initiated and directed action against the BJP leaders making inflammatory statements was transferred overnight from the Delhi High Court, he added.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, meanwhile, tweeted: "Remembering the brave Judge Loya, who wasn't transferred."

Along with a screenshot of the transfer letter, Priyanka tweeted: "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".

Reacting to the charges made by the Congress, Union Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Justice Muralidhar was transferred on the recommendation of the Supreme Court Collegium and accused the Opposition of politicising a routine transfer.

While saying that a "well-settled process" was followed in the transfer, Prasad added: "By politicising a routine transfer, Congress has yet again displayed its scant regard for the judiciary."

Protesting Justice Muralidhar's transfer, the Delhi High Court Bar Association had urged the Collegium to "revisit" and recall its recommendation, saying such transfers "tend to erode and dislodge the faith of the common litigant in the justice dispensation system".

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