I don’t know what bothered the government about my Delhi riots decision. Another judge should have done the same: Justice S Muralidhar

Justice S Muralidhar

Justice S Muralidhar

Former Judge of Delhi High Court and Chief Justice of Orissa High Court S Muralidhar said on Saturday that he was “clueless” about what had “disturbed” the central government in its decision in the Delhi riots case that led to his immediate transfer from the Delhi High Court.

He added that another judge should have done the same in his place as it was the right thing to do.

Justice Muralidhar, who retired as Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court on August 7 this year, was answering a question from the audience at the annual conclave organized by First the South In Bangalore

The retired judge was discussing the matter with senior advocate Sanjay Hegde. “Who Wins Who Loses in Judiciary-Executive Face-Off.”

At the end of the session, an audience member asked the judge if he had anything to say about his midnight hearing and the resulting verdict in the Delhi riots case. That he was immediately transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

“I don’t know what it is about my judgment that has bothered the government. Every other colleague of mine in the Delhi High Court would have done the same. So, I am as clueless as you as to what bothered them. What, that is, if they were upset at all? But it didn’t matter, as it was the right thing to do.” Justice Muralidhar said.

The judge also spoke about the prevailing belief that the executive has unhealthy control over the judiciary and that appointments to high courts and the Supreme Court are often not made in a transparent manner.

“This is a question we constantly ask ourselves and we have a set of answers. As most people in the audience will subscribe to the view that when there is a strong executive, the judiciary will be weak and that But if you study the history from the perspective of serious researchers like George Gedbois, the book he wrote in two parts, the first part came under his name and the second part came under the name of Abhinav Chandrachud, the book ‘ Supreme Whispers’. Find out that there have been times in India’s Judiciary when we have had a strong executive and there was a perceptible change in 1971. If you read all this, you will get a sense of déjà vu. “ Justice Muralidhar said.

In both the pre-1993 system where the executive had a say in the appointment of judges, and after 1993 when the collegium came into existence, judges had to walk a very tight rope, he added.

The judge added that while this tussle between the judiciary and the executive is not new, how the judiciary maintains its independence depends on individual judges, especially the Chief Justice of India.

“So, it then comes down to the individual. Whoever is the Chief Justice of India at the time. For example, who was the Chief Justice in 1971? Was he able to withstand the pressures that he faced? He was faced by the Executive. You see a time that is very interesting. Justice Chandra Chod Sr. (Justice YV Chandrachud..he had seven and a half years. So, he had to do a lot of tightrope walking. For example, he could not bring in Justice Chandurkar. He couldn’t bring in many good judges, or, he couldn’t bring them in at the time he wanted them. And there was pressure and pull from many directions as to who should come first, who should come next. Justice Muralidhar said.

He also spoke about the need to develop a mechanism that would fix the eligibility criteria for promotion as a High Court judge. He further said that as the Chief Justice of the High Court, the expertise, objectivity and integrity of lawyers can be observed daily, therefore, when nominating a name for elevation, the Chief Justice and other collegium members should consider these qualities. should be taken into account. Lawyer in mind.

“You constantly watch lawyers perform in front of you and you get a sense of how capable they are of being objective and fair. Lawyers who don’t exaggerate anything, who are careful not to mislead the courts. are, who help the courts reach good decisions. They are people who are able to help develop the law and not lead the courts to make mistakes. These are the qualities you are looking for. are.” Justice Muralidhar said.

Justice Muralidhar also discussed the need for a mandatory “cooling-off period” for every judge before taking up employment after retirement.

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