Congress questions Justice S Muralidhar's transfer; Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad slams party, saying 'well-settled process' followed

The Congress on Thursday hit out at the government over the transfer of Delhi High Court Judge S Muralidhar, alleging that the Modi dispensation was waging a battle of revenge against the judiciary.

Press Trust of India February 27, 2020 11:59:24 IST
Congress questions Justice S Muralidhar's transfer; Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad slams party, saying 'well-settled process' followed
  • The Congress on Thursday hit out at the government over the transfer of Delhi High Court Judge S Muralidhar, alleging that the Modi dispensation was waging a battle of revenge against the judiciary

  • Upping the ante against the Modi government, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the Centre's attempts to 'muzzle' justice

  • Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad came down heavily on the Opposition party for these remarks and said that Muralidhar's transfer came following the recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium

The Congress on Thursday hit out at the government over the transfer of Delhi High Court Judge S Muralidhar, alleging that the Modi dispensation was waging a battle of revenge against the judiciary. Muralidhar was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, on a day when a bench headed by him expressed "anguish" over the Delhi Police's failure to register FIRs against alleged hate speeches by BJP leaders Parvesh Verma, Kapil Mishra and Anurag Thakur.

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Taking a dig at the government over Muralidhar's "sudden" transfer, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "Remembering the brave Judge Loya, who wasn't transferred." Loya, who was hearing the high-profile Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case of Gujarat, died of cardiac arrest in Nagpur on 1 December 2014, when he had gone to attend the wedding of a colleague's daughter.

Upping the ante against the Modi government, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the Centre's attempts to "muzzle" justice and "break people's faith in an upright judiciary are deplorable".

"The midnight transfer of Justice Muralidhar isn't shocking given the current dispensation, but it is certainly sad and shameful," Priyanka Gandhi tweeted. "Millions of Indians have faith in a resilient & upright judiciary, the government's attempts to muzzle justice & break their faith are deplorable," she added.

Calling the transfer a classic "hit-and-run injustice" by the BJP government, senior Congress leader Randeep Surjewala said the saffron party's "politics of revenge" has been exposed. "It seems those doing justice in-country will now not be spared," he said at a press conference. "Delhi HC Judge S Muralidhar transferred by the government to save BJP leaders in Delhi violence case," he alleged.

Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad came down heavily on the Opposition party for these remarks and said that Muralidhar's transfer came following the recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium, asserting that a "well-settled process" was followed.

The minister's reaction came after the Congress alleged that Justice Muralidhar was transferred by the government to save BJP leaders in the Delhi violence case.

"Transfer of Honarable Justice Muralidhar was done pursuant to the recommendation dated 12 February of the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India," Prasad wrote on Twitter.

He said while transferring a judge, his or her consent is taken. "The well-settled process has been followed," Prasad added. He said a judge's consent is taken before transferring him or her.

Continuing his attack on the opposition party, Prasad said the people of India have rejected the Congress and "hence it is hell-bent on destroying the very institutions India cherishes by constantly attacking them".

Referring to a tweet by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on the death of Judge Loya, the Union minister said the Loya judgement had been well-settled by the Supreme Court. "Those raising questions do not respect the judgment of the apex court pronounced after elaborate arguments. Does Rahul Gandhi consider himself above even the Supreme Court," he asked. Prasad said the government respects the independence of the judiciary.

"The record of Congress in compromising the independence of the judiciary, superseding judges even of Supreme Court during Emergency is well known. They rejoice only when the judgment is of their liking otherwise raise questions on the institutions itself," he said.

Prasad said the party which is the "private property of one family" has no right to lecture about objectionable speeches. "The family and its cronies have routinely used the harshest words against the Courts, the Army, the CAG, the PM and the people of India," the minister said.

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