Law minister justifies sending Justice Muralidhar to Punjab and Haryana HC

Updated: Feb 29, 2020, 08:08 IST | Agencies | New Delhi

Law minister justifies sending Justice Muralidhar, who slammed Delhi cops for inaction into BJP leaders' hate speeches, to the Punjab and Haryana HC

Judge S Muralidhar. Pic/Twitter
Judge S Muralidhar. Pic/Twitter

Senior BJP leader and Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Friday said commitment to judicial, media and individual freedom is one of the Modi government's "fundamentals" as he cited its leaders' fight against the Emergency to reject criticism over a Delhi High Court judge's transfer.

Asked about the Congress' attack on the government over the transfer of Justice S Muralidhar, Prasad hit back at the party, noting that its government in the 1970s had superseded Supreme Court judges, a move seen as an assault on judicial independence. He reiterated that Muralidhar's transfer had nothing to do with any case as a recommendation to this effect was already made by the Supreme Court collegium and the judge had also given his consent.

"It [transfer] was part of the process. By same process dozens of judges have been transferred," Prasad told reporters.

The Congress on Thursday alleged that Muralidhar's transfer was aimed at saving some BJP leaders in the Delhi violence case and exposed the Modi government's "intimidation and vendetta politics" against the judiciary.

The notification of Justice Muralidhar's transfer to the Punjab and Haryana High Court came late Wednesday evening, on a day when a bench headed by him expressed "anguish" over Delhi Police's failure to register FIRs against alleged hate speeches by BJP leaders Parvesh Verma, Kapil Mishra and Anurag Thakur.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra hit out at the government over the transfer, saying 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," she tweeted. "Millions of Indians have faith in a resilient and upright judiciary, the government's attempts to muzzle justice & break their faith are deplorable," the Congress general secretary said.

Taking a dig at the government over Muralidhar's "sudden" transfer, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "Remembering the brave Judge Loya, who wasn't transferred."

13 died of gunshot wounds
The Delhi police on Friday identified the cause of death of 35 of the 42 victims of the communal violence in northeast Delhi — 22 died due to fatal injuries from stone pelting or physical assault and 13 due to gunshot injuries.

So far the police have managed to identify only 26 of the victims.

42
Death toll in Delhi violence

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