A day after the Law Ministry on February 25 notified the transfer of Justice S Muralidhar from Delhi High Court to Punjab and Haryana High Court, the Congress (INC) has dubbed it as the Centre’s "revenge politics".
In a press briefing held on February 27, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the urgency of the transfer had "exposed the BJP's politics of revenge", Outlook India reported.
Surjewala also wrote on Twitter: "Instant justice! As Bench headed by J. S. Murlidhar holds the BJP leaders & Govt accountable for the #Delhi
violence, he is overnight transferred from Delhi High Court. Wish the rioters had been dealt with the same speed & alacrity!" (sic)
According to the report, Surjewala alleged the step was taken to "save BJP leaders from being indicted in the Delhi violence case" and that "those doing justice in the country will not be spared."
Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra also tweeted about the transfer, saying: "The midnight transfer of Justice Muralidhar isn’t shocking given the current dispensation, but it is certianly sad & shameful. Millions of Indians have faith in a resilient & upright judiciary, the government’s attempts to muzzle justice & break their faith are deplorable." (sic)
Lawyer and Congress leader Manish Tewari wrote: "Every Lawyer &Judge in India who believes Law & Justice are higher callings than just a career must strongly protest &condemn crude attempt to intimidate Judiciary by arbitrary transfer of Justice S. Muralidhar in the middle of the DELHI RIOT HEARINGS." (sic)
However, one must note that the Supreme Court Collegium, which includes Chief Justice of India SA Bobde, had recommended the transfer on February 12 and Justice Muralidhar had reportedly agreed to it as well. It was notified after the order was signed by President Ramnath Kovind.
This was also pointed out by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who stated: "Transfer of Hon’ble Justice Muralidhar was done pursuant to the recommendation dated 12.02.2020 of the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India. While transferring the judge consent of the judge is taken. The well settled process have been followed." (sic)
Justice Muralidhar was in the news for hearing pleas regarding the recent mob violence in northeast Delhi, which has killed 34 people and injured hundreds. During the hearing on February 26, he rapped the Delhi police for the situation in the capital stating that "another 1984-like situation" cannot happen under its watch.