New Delhi: Justice S. Muralidhar Thursday told judges and lawyers of the Delhi High Court that he was informed about his transfer to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on 17 February and that he had no problem with it.
Speaking at his farewell function at the Delhi High Court, Justice Muralidhar said he had received a communication on 17 February from Chief Justice of India S.A. Bobde about the recommendation made by the collegium for his transfer to Punjab and Haryana High court.
He acknowledged the communication and responded that if he has to be transferred from the Delhi High Court anyway, he has no problem going to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, he told the gathering.
“I will always be proud to be called as a former judge of the best high court of India, unarguably, the Delhi High Court,” he said.
At the full-court reference organised to bid farewell to Justice Muralidhar, Chief Justice of Delhi HC D.N. Patel recalled the landmark judgments delivered by Muralidhar, while advocate Rahul Mehra, standing counsel for Delhi government, called his transfer “antithetical to rule of law”.
Mehra also sang the famous Rabindranath Tagore’s song ‘Ekla Chalo re (Walk alone)’ and said: “This means that even if no one hears your call, you walk alone. Thank you for keeping the flame on side of truth and justice alive. A thousand members of the Bar have been inspired by you.”
‘We don’t want another 1984’
Justice Muralidhar’s transfer was embroiled in a controversy after it was notified on the night of 26 February — a few hours after a bench headed by him pulled up Delhi Police for failing to register FIRs against BJP leaders Parvesh Verma, Anurag Thakur and Kapil Mishra for their alleged hate speeches.
Mishra’s pro-CAA rally in Northeast Delhi’s Jaffrabad where he gave a ‘three-day’ ultimatum to Delhi police to get the roads cleared of anti-CAA protesters is said to have triggered the communal riots in the national capital that have killed 44 people so far.
During the hearing on a petition filed by activist Harsh Mander, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta tried defending non-registration of FIRs, claiming that the authorities were waiting for a “conducive time”.
Justice Muralidhar then retorted, asking, “When is the appropriate stage? When the city burns?… How many lives have to be lost? How many properties have to be destroyed?”
“We want peace in the city, it has seen enough violence. We don’t want another 1984,” he added.
Justice Muralidhar then ordered the authorities to inform him of the decision taken on the filing of the FIRs the next day and listed the matter for hearing at 2 pm on 27 February.
However, before the case could be taken up that day, the matter was listed before the Chief Justice’s court and a notification for Justice Muralidhar’s transfer with immediate effect was issued on the evening of 26 February.
(With inputs from PTI)