In yet another example of blatant fake news peddled by left-wing intellectuals and journalists, today a large number of such people accused the union government of transferring justice S Muralidhar from Delhi High Court to Punjab & Haryana High court a day after he made scathing remarks on the govt and the Delhi police in a midnight hearing on Delhi riots. A notification issued by the Law ministry transferring Justice Muralidhar was widely circulated on social media, with the insinuation that govt has transferred him in retaliation to his critical remarks against the govt.
The Congress party launched an attack on the government over the issue, alleging that govt wanted to remove justice Muralidhar from the Delhi riots case so that BJP leaders accused in the case are protected. Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewal called it a hit and run show by the Modi govt to “save the perpetrators of hate”. Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted that, “The midnight transfer of Justice Muralidhar isn’t shocking given the current dispensation, but it is certainly sad & shameful”. Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi also joined the blame game, who tweeted, “Remembering the brave Judge Loya, who wasn’t transferred”.
There are two lies that Congress and other left-liberals are peddling in the matter. First, the Union Government didn’t transfer Justice Muralidhar after an overnight decision. His transfer was recommended by the Supreme Collegium on February 12 itself, and the law ministry merely issued the notification as per the decision of the collegium. It may be noted that transfers and appointment in the higher judiciary are in the hand of the Collegium, and the govt has no role in it. Apart from justice Muralidhar, the SC Collegium had also recommended the transfer of justice Ranjit C More from Bombay to Meghalaya High Court, and justice Ravi V Malimath from Karnataka to Uttarakhand High Court.
Reacting to the baseless allegation, law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad tweeted that the transfer was done as per recommendation dated 12.02.2020 of the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India. He also informed that before transferring the judge, his consent was taken, and well-settled process in such matters have been followed.
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.
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) February 27, 2020
The law minister also responded to Rahul Gandhi’s justice Loya reference, and said that the Loya judgement has been well settled by the Supreme Court already. “By politicising a routine transfer, Congress has yet again displayed its scant regard for the judiciary. People of India have rejected Congress Party and hence it is hell bent on destroying the very institutions India cherishes by constantly attacking them”, he said.
The second lie is that Justice Muralidhar was transferred to remove the hearing the Delhi riots case, because even if he was not transferred, he was not going to hear the case further. The reason is, the case was not originally listed for Justice Muralidhar’s court. The case was listed before the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, and justice Muralidhar had heard the case in urgency as the Chief Justice was absent on that day. The case was not transferred to his court, it remains listed under the CJ, so subsequently the case was to be heard by the CJ only, even if justice Muralidhar remains in Delhi High Court.
The cause list of the Delhi High Court for February 27 shows that the case will be heard by the Chief Justice at 2 PM.
After it became well known that justice Muralidhar has been transferred as per Supreme Collegium’s decision, some people tried another falsehood to attack the government. Leftist propagandist Prashant Bhushan, who is often seen spreading fake news, claimed that although the collegium had recommended the transfer of 3 judges after its February 12 meeting, the govt issued notification for transfer of Muralidhar only.
He also claimed that while normally judges are given about 10 days in transfers, he has been transferred with immediate effect. The same claim was made by a number of social media users.
This is an absolute lie, as the union govt has issued three separate notifications for transfer of all three High Court judges as per the recommendation of the collegium. All three notifications were uploaded on the website of the department of justice last evening, therefore it is a lie that only justice Muralidhar has been transferred.
Moreover, although the 3 notifications do not mention any date of joining their new High Courts, the notifications do not say that the 3 judges are transferred with immediate effect. The notification merely says that the judge has been transferred and he has been directed to assume charge of his office in the respective High Court, without mentioning any time or saying that it has to be done immediately.
Although Prashant Bhushan later tweeted that notification for all three judges have been issued, he didn’t delete his original tweet, which has already 3.7 thousand retweets and 7.1 thousans like, which means the fake news contionues to be spread on social media.
It has also been reported that Justice Muralidhar has been transferred to Punjab and Haryana High Court to facilitate his elevation as the Chief Justice of the court. He is expetcted to become the Chief Justice after the current Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha is elevated to the Supreme Court. Therefore, if the government had anything against Justice Muralidhar, it would not have issued the notification which will help in eventually getting promoted as a Chief Justice.