Senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, speaks to media as she leaves from AICC headquarters after a Press Conference, in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Senior Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, speaks to media as she leaves from AICC headquarters after a Press Conference, in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Photo: ANI

Justice S Muralidhar's recent transfer from the Delhi High Court has garnered criticism from Congress leaders, in light of the recent violent clashes in Delhi.

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Thursday took to Twitter to say that while Justice Muralidhar's "midnight transfer" was not shocking given the current regime, it was "certainly sad and shameful".

She added that millions of Indians had faith in the Indian judiciary and that the Centre's attempts to "muzzle justice and break their faith are deplorable."

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi too tweeted on the issue, bring up the Judge Loya issue.

While Gandhi is at present out of the country, he has been vocal in his criticism of the situation in Delhi. Earlier he had tweeted to say that the Delhi violence was "disturbing" and had said that it must be "unequivocally condemned".

"Peaceful protests are a sign of a healthy democracy, but violence can never be justified," he had said, urging the people of Delhi to "show restraint, compassion and understanding".

On Wednesday evening, the President ordered the transfer of Delhi HC judge S Muralidhar to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. This came hours after a bench headed by the Judge had expressed "anguish" over the Delhi Police's failure to curb violence and register FIRs against alleged hate speeches made by several BJP leaders including Kapil Mishra and Anurag Thakur.

It must however be noted that Justice Muralidhar's transfer had been announced before the recent spate of violence in Delhi began, and well before the Judge's criticism of the Delhi Police. A statement released by the Supreme Court had said that the transfer had been recommended by its consortium on February 12.

Nor was he the only judge whose transfer had been recommended. The same notice had recommended the transfer of Justice Ranjit More, the second senior most judge of the Bombay High Court to the Meghalaya HC and Justice Ravi Vijaykumar Malimath from Karnataka to Uttarakhand.

Reiterating the same, the government responded to the Congress' allegations with a point by point rebuttal.

Terming it a "routine" affair, Minister of Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad criticised the party for "politicising" the issue.

He accused the Congress of displaying "scant regard for the judiciary" and alleged that the party was "hell bent on destroying the very institutions India cherishes by constantly attacking them."

In a long Twitter thread, the Law Minister also wondered if Rahul Gandhi considered himself "above even the Supreme Court".

"The Loya judgement has been well settled by the Supreme Court. Those raising questions do not respect the judgment of the Apex Court pronounced after elaborate arguments," he wrote, adding that "we respect independence of judiciary."

"Record of Congress in compromising independence of judiciary, superseding judges even of Supreme Court during Emergency is well known," he added.

"They rejoice only when the judgment is of their liking otherwise raise questions on the institutions itself," he said.

(With inputs from agencies)

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