Published: 27th February 2020
Everything you need to know about Justice Muralidhar, the man who pulled up the Delhi Police over riots
The midnight transfer has left many in the country in distress but his transfer was debated once in December and then again in January
Justice S Muralidhar is all over the news after he was transferred from the Delhi High Court to the Punjab and Haryana High Court just after he pulled up the Delhi police for failing to control the riots in the capital. From the Congress to the regular public, many have questioned the timing of this transfer and have accused the ruling party of issuing the transfer orders deliberately to take the judge off the case.
The Law Minister has refuted these allegations by saying that the recommendations for his transfer came two weeks ago. Yet, the midnight transfer has left many in the country in distress but his transfer was debated once in December and then again in January. However, it is important to note that Justice is known for passing judgements that have benefitted the disadvantaged. He convicted members of the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary in the Hashimpura massacre and even convicted Sajjan Kumar, the Congress leader in the 1984- anti-Sikh riots. About the case and in his conviction, the judge said, "familiar pattern of mass killings in Mumbai in 1993, in Gujarat in 2002, in Kandhamal, Odisha, in 2008, in Muzaffarnagar in U.P. in 2013” where minorities are being attacked by “spearheaded by the dominant political actors being facilitated by the law enforcement agencies”.
“The criminals responsible for mass crimes have enjoyed political patronage and managed to evade prosecution and punishment.....Bringing such criminals to justice poses a serious challenge to our legal system… Neither ‘crimes against humanity’ nor ‘genocide’ is part of our domestic law of crime. This loophole needs to be addressed urgently, " The Print quoted him.
He was also part of the panel that legalised LGBTQ sex in the 2009 Naz Foundation case. He is also known for ruling in favour of a petitioner who had filed an RTI seeking information from the Supreme Court registry on how many of the judges had declared their assets. In the Bhima Koregaon incident too, the Judge was praised for setting aside the remand issued against activist Gautam Navlakha stating that the police had not been able to produce any evidence to do the same. He was criticised for his judgement by some RSS leaders, it has been reported that the first move to transfer him was taken after this incident.
Interestingly, the judge also requested that people not refer to him as 'My Lordship'. Besides the cases mentioned above he also took up the Bhopal Gas tragedy case, the construction of dams over the Narmada and had passed 3100 judgements, many of which have had to do with personal liberty and social justice.
The judge started in Chennai in 1984 before shifting to Delhi three years later. After days of rioting, many sections of the public were rejoicing over the fact that the judge had called out the police for claiming that they had not seen BJP leader Kapil Sharma's hate speech. He had played the video in court and directed the police to issue FIR against the leaders who had spread hate speech. He was also the one to pass orders assuring safe passage for riot victims to the hospitals. With all this hitting the news, the people are not happy with the news of his transfer as there is a feeling that the Delhi riot case has not been compromised. In fact, the lawyers and his colleagues too protested against his transfer. But the judge already bid farewell earlier today but social media and the youth are only just catching up with him.