New Delhi: Hours after the late-night transfer of Delhi High Court Judge S Muralidhar, who had pulled up the Delhi Police for inaction during the riots in north-east Delhi, a political slugfest erupted between Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi.
While Priyanka Gandhi accused the government of trying to “muzzle justice” and shake people’s belief in the judicial system in a Thursday morning tweet, Prasad accused the Congress of showing “scant regard” for the judiciary.
“The midnight transfer of Justice Muralidhar isn’t shocking given the current dispensation, but it is certainly sad & shameful. Millions of Indians have faith in a resilient & upright judiciary, the government’s attempts to muzzle justice & break their faith are deplorable,” the Congress general secretary tweeted.
The midnight transfer of Justice Muralidhar isn’t shocking given the current dispensation, but it is certianly sad & shameful. Millions of Indians have faith in a resilient & upright judiciary, the government’s attempts to muzzle justice & break their faith are deplorable. pic.twitter.com/KKt4IeAMyv
— Priyanka Gandhi Vadra (@priyankagandhi) February 27, 2020
In a series of tweets, Prasad defended the move and accused the grand old party of “compromising independence of judiciary, superseding judges even of Supreme Court” during Emergency in 1975-1977. “They (Congress) rejoice only when the judgment is of their liking otherwise raise questions on the institutions itself,” he said.
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.
— Ravi Shankar Prasad (@rsprasad) February 27, 2020
The law minister called Congress the “private property of one family” which is trying to politicise a routine transfer.
“The party, which is the private property of one family, has no right to lecture about objectionable speeches. The family & it’s cronies have routinely used the harshest words against the Courts, the Army, the CAG, the PM and the people of India.”
“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.
In a veiled attack on Union Home Minister Amit Shah for his alleged involvement in the death of special CBI judge BH Loya in a tweet, Rahul Gandhi tweeted on Thursday, “Remembering the brave Judge Loya, who wasn’t transferred.”
Remembering the brave Judge Loya, who wasn’t transferred.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 27, 2020
Justice Loya’s death in 2014, while he was hearing the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case in which Amit Shah was an accused, had become a major controversy.
Reacting to Rahul’s tweet, Prasad said, “The Loya judgment has been well settled by the Supreme Court. Those raising questions do not respect the judgment of the Apex Court pronounced after elaborate arguments. Does Rahul Gandhi consider himself above even the Supreme Court?”
The late night evening notification of Justice Muralidhar’s transfer came hours after a bench headed by him slammed the Delhi Police for its failure to register FIRs against alleged hate speeches by three BJP leaders.
Prasad defended the move and said the transfer was done “pursuant to the recommendation dated February 12, 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,” he said.
The high court bench had on Wednesday passed a series of orders with regard to the violence in north-east Delhi and said that “another 1984-like situation cannot be allowed to happen in the city under its watch.”
“We have to be alert,” said Muralidhar as he ordered safe passage for the collection of the bodies of the deceased, setting up of adequate number of helplines and shelter to people who have been displaced, among other things.
“We propose to appoint an amicus curie to coordinate between the victims and the agencies to ensure that prompt action is taken,” the court added.
The division bench also comprising Justice Talwant Singh ruled, “It is extremely unfortunate what has happened. This is the time to show that Z security works for everybody. Otherwise, we cannot restore peace. Every victim should be visited by higher functionaries,” the HC bench said.
As many as 34 people have lost their lives while over 200 have been injured after clashes between pro and anti-CAA protesters turned violent in north-east Delhi.
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