The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), in an open letter to the President of India-Ram Nath Kovind, has urged to take corrective action on the ‘hasty decision’ to transfer Justice S Muralidhar from Delhi High Court to the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The letter, signed by IBAHRI Co-Chair – Anne Ramberg and Vice-Chair – Mark Stephens, states: ‘This unusually prompt transfer, at a time of alarming social unrest raises concerns about the potential undermining of the independence of the judiciary in India.’
Justice Muralidhar was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the night of 26 February, a day after he had pulled up Delhi Police for failing to register FIRs against three BJP leaders for allegedly making hate speeches ahead of the communal uprisings in north-eastern Delhi.
Citing the transfer as a challenge to the independence of the Indian Judiciary, the letter urges the President to assess the impartiality of the decision to transfer Justice Muralidhar and thus to guarantee the independence of the judiciary and the integrity of the Constitution.
The International Bar Association was founded in 1947 and is the world’s leading body of foreign legal professionals, bar associations and law societies. The IBA’s Human Rights Centre aims to encourage, defend and uphold human rights under a fair rule of law, and maintain the freedom of the judiciary and legal profession across the world.