— Indian media reports suggest Justice Muralidhar had come down hard on Delhi police while hearing pleas on religious violence
Delhi High Court judge Justice S. Muralidhar – who on Wednesday grilled the government of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre, the state government and the Delhi Police over the communal violence in the national capital that left 32 dead and over 200 injured, majority of whom were Muslim – has been transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court, NDTV reported on Thursday.
Official sources have called it a routine transfer recommended by a Supreme Court panel two weeks ago.
The notification on the transfer of Justice Muralidhar, the third-highest judge of the Delhi High Court, was issued around 11:00 PM on Wednesday night by the central government, about two weeks after it was recommended by the Supreme Court collegium on Feb 12.
Earlier on Wednesday, Justice Muralidhar had said, “We cannot let another 1984-like event [Sikh Massacre which killed somewhere in between 3000-5000 Sikhs] happen in this country” and asked the government – at the centre and in Delhi – to work together to combat unrelenting violence that hit parts of the national capital for a fourth consecutive day.
The comment came in a tense hearing during which videos of hate speeches by four BJP leaders – Kapil Mishra, Anurag Thakur, Abhay Verma and Parvesh Verma – were played. The hearing was on a petition seeking First Information Reports (FIRs) against those who incited and participated in the violence in northeast Delhi.
The judge asked why there shouldn’t be FIRs against the four BJP leaders. He told the chief of Delhi Police – which comes under the jurisdiction of Union Home Minister – to “seriously consider the consequences” of not registering the FIR.
When the centre, represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued that FIRs would be registered at an “appropriate time”, Justice Muralidhar said: “What’s the appropriate time, Mr Mehta? The city is burning”.
The judge had asked the police to appear on Thursday with a status report. The case is now listed before the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Justice Dhirubhai Naranbhai Patel.