• Tuesday, Mar 31, 2020
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Delhi HC judge who criticized police over violence transferred

  • Published at 02:44 pm February 27th, 2020
Police personnel detain members of Communist Party of India (CPI) as they demand the resignation of Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the responsibility about the violence in Delhi, during a protest in Hyderabad on February 27, 2020. - Sporadic violence hit parts of Delhi overnight as gangs roamed streets littered with the debris of days of sectarian riots that have killed 32 people, police said on February 27. (Photo by NOAH SEELAM / AFP)
Police personnel detain members of Communist Party of India (CPI) as they demand the resignation of Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the responsibility about the violence in Delhi, during a protest in Hyderabad on February 27, 2020 AFP

The number of casualties as a result of large-scale mob violence in Delhi, much of it directed at Muslims, climbed to 34 on Thursday

Delhi High Court judge, Justice S Muralidhar – who had on Wednesday criticized Indian government, the state as well as the police for the violence in northeast Delhi – has been transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, India’s legal focused news portal Bar and Bench reported. Official sources call it a routine transfer recommended by a Supreme Court panel on February 12.

The notification on the transfer of Muralidhar, the third highest judge of the Delhi High Court, was issued around 11pm local time on Wednesday night by the central government. 

“In exercise of the power conferred by clause (1) of Article 222 of the Constitution of India, the President, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, is pleased to transfer Shri Justice S Muralidhar, Judge of the Delhi High Court, as a Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and to direct him to assume charge of his office in the Punjab and Haryana High Court,” the notification read.

The transfer notification does not give any time frame for the judge to join his new post, which was seen to infer that he should do so immediately. Such transfer orders usually give judges 14 days to join; this was the case in six previous transfers.

Women walk past charred vehicles in a riot affected area following clashes between people demonstrating for and against a new citizenship law in New Delhi, India, February 27, 2020 | ReutersThe number of casualties as a result of large-scale mob violence in Delhi, much of it directed at Muslims, climbed to 34 on Thursday.

Muralidhar began his practice in Chennai in 1984 and moved to Delhi in 1987 to practice at the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court. He was appointed to the Delhi High Court in 2006.

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said “another 1984 riots” cannot be allowed in the city and directed the police to take a decision on filing cases against three right wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders – Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur and Parvesh Verma – for hate speech. The court also ordered security for citizens, 24-hour helplines, adequate ambulances and shelters.

The court also rebuked the police for inaction during the violent clashes in northeast Delhi and said the situation would not have escalated if the police had “not allowed instigators to get away.”

The court added that the highest functionaries of the state have to be “very, very alert” and said state and central government functionaries should meet the victims and their families. 

The violence erupted between thousands demonstrating for and against the new legislation passed by Modi's Hindu nationalist government.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) makes it easier for non-Muslims from some neighbouring Muslim-dominated countries to gain Indian citizenship.

Critics say the law is biased against Muslims and undermines India's secular constitution.