By Shuriah Niazi
NEW DELHI, India (AA) - A Delhi High Court judge who pulled up the police and government for their failure to contain communal riots in the Indian capital was transferred late on Wednesday.
A communique issued by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind around midnight stated that Justice S. Muralidhar is being transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He was also asked to take immediate charge of his new posting.
Hearing a petition, the judge on Wednesday had questioned the role of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and few union ministers for their alleged hate speeches, believed to be the reason behind the rioting.
At least 35 people were killed and over 200 were injured in clashes since Sunday, which erupted in the North-East part of Delhi between pro- and anti-citizenship law protesters.
Justice Muralidhar had asked the government to file cases against these leaders.
Defending the transfer, the government said the Supreme Court collegium had already recommended his transfer along with two other judges on Feb. 12.
However, the opposition party and civil society groups have criticized the timing of the move.
Senior Congress leader, Randeep Surjewala described it as an attempt to browbeat the judiciary in the country.
“The entire country is shocked but no longer surprised at the brazenness, maliciousness, and high-handedness of the government which will go to any lengths to shield those who have, on record, given hate speeches and sown the seeds of discord that we see ignited today,” said Surjewala in a press statement.
He alleged that the judge was transferred by the government to save ruling BJP leaders in Delhi violence case.
Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, however, accused the Congress of politicizing a “routine transfer”.
He said that the transfer of the judge was as per a well-settled process.
“By politicizing a routine transfer, Congress has yet again displayed its scant regard for the judiciary. People of India have rejected the Congress party and hence it is hell-bent on destroying the very institutions India cherishes by constantly attacking them, “Prasad said in a statement.
Delhi is witnessing worst violence than two months after the government passed the contentious law, which grants citizenship to non-Muslim religious minorities escaping persecution in three neighboring countries -- Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh. Critics see the new law as unconstitutional and discriminating against Muslims.
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India: Midnight transfer of judge creates row
By Shuriah Niazi