Tahilramani transfer: High Court reserves orders

The Madras High Court on Friday reserved its orders on a plea challenging the Supreme Court collegium’s proposal to transfer Justice V K Tahilramani to the Meghalaya High Court.
Tahilramani transfer: High Court reserves orders
V K Tahilramani

Chennai

A division bench comprising Justice M Sathyanarayanan and Justice N Seshasayee heard the case in length to decide whether the plea was maintainable at the first place. However, the bench, while reserving its orders, observed that the matter may have been brought in public interest, but the appropriate forum to present the petitioner’s concerns would be either Parliament or the Supreme Court.

The crux of the plea moved by Advocate M Karpagam revolved around the aspect that since the collegium proposal was an administrative order, it is amendable to the writ jurisdiction of the high court.

Appearing for petitioner, Advocate R Prabakaran challenged the collegium resolution on the basis that it had been made without making any reference to the President of India. He argued that the decision to transfer judges between High Courts could be taken only after consultation with the President. Quoting Article 222, which deals with the transfer of a judge from one high court to another, he said, “The Article explicitly states that the President may, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India, transfer a judge from one high court to any other high court.”

He also submitted that the independence of the judiciary, being part of the Constitution’s basic structure, must be insulated from any interference, which would also include judicial interference. The rule of law is not the rule of a few men, he argued. He also urged for the disclosure of the reasons underlying collegium resolutions in transferring Justice Tahilramani as nothing is in public domain. However, during the hearing, the bench made observations regarding as to how judges themselves self-insulate from external influences as part of expected self-discipline and anyone in public office must abide by the rule of the law.

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