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Legal

Updated on: Sunday, November 14, 2021, 08:49 PM IST

FPJ Legal: Madras Bar Association, senior counsel oppose transfer of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee

Madras High Court | Wikipedia

Madras High Court | Wikipedia

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Chennai: Over 30 designated senior counsel and the Madras Bar Association have opposed the decision of the Supreme Court collegium to transfer Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee to the High Court of Meghalaya. While the Madras High Court is one of the oldest High Courts in the country with a sanctioned strength of 75 judges, the Meghalaya High Court is a newer one with just a sanctioned strength of three judges.

Justice Sanjib Banerjee is the second Chief Justice of the Madras High Court to be transferred to Meghalaya in less than three years. In September 2019, then Chief Justice Vijaya Tahilramani had resigned after being transferred to Meghalaya.

On Sunday, the Madras Bar Association passed a resolution, at its emergency general body meeting, urged the collegium to reconsider the transfer of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee.

Separately over 30 designated senior counsel shot off a representation to the Supreme Court seeking reconsideration of the transfer. They pointed out that he had assumed office in the Madras High Court only on January 4 and had completed only 10 months. He has two more years of service.

"During his term he has discharged his functions both in the administrative and judicial side to the best of his capabilities bringing honour to the office he held. He has been a good administrator and in the judicial side he has disposed a few thousand cases even during the devastating COVID-19 pandemic," the representation, a copy of which was released to the media, said.

"The orders were predominantly dictated in the open court and delivered. When this is a fact that most advocates and litigants would readily agree, we are unable to fathom the reasons for his sudden transfer to another court," the signatories to the representation, which included Rajya Sabha MP N R Elango, Nalini Chidambaram and Satish Parasaran, said.

Constant transfers of judges had left the Madras High Court in a state of constant flux. Such short-lived tenures at the apex of the court's hierarchy in a State bodes ill for the health of the institution and the justice delivery system.

The representation said it takes a new Chief Justice at least a year to understand the administration, composition and challenges of an institution apart from understanding the culture, language and local practices. Therefore, any Chief Justice of Madras High Court should at least have a two-year term.

However, in the last three years, the Madras High Court had three Chief Justices apart from Acting Chief Justices.

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Published on: Sunday, November 14, 2021, 08:49 PM IST
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