Don’t wish to discuss my transfer or resignation, says Tahilramani

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Lawyers demand withdrawal of transfer order

Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani

Even as lawyers practising in the Madras High Court as well as its Madurai Bench stood resolutely behind her, Chief Justice of Madras High Court Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani on Monday refused to express any opinion on her proposed transfer to the High Court of Meghalaya and her consequent resignation.

When approached for her views on the issue, Justice Tahilramani said: “I do not wish to make any comments or discuss the matter. Kindly excuse me.”

The Supreme Court collegium, comprising top five judges of the court, had decided to transfer her to Meghalaya ‘in the interest of better administration of justice’ and the Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court Ajay Kumar Mittal to the Madras High Court.

When the decision was communicated to her, she sent a representation on September 2 seeking reconsideration of her transfer. The collegium took up the representation on September 3 and concluded that it would not be possible to accede to her request. It reiterated its August 28 recommendation for transferring her to Meghalaya and forwarded the proposal to the President’s office as well as the Centre for issuing necessary orders. It was only thereafter, the Chief Justice chose to put in her papers.

Consequently, she chose not to preside over the court proceedings on Monday when a section of lawyers led by senior counsel R.Vaigai staged a demonstration against the transfer.

The protesting lawyers insisted upon withdrawal of the recommendation made by the collegium and requested the Chief Justice to withdraw her resignation. The lawyers’ associations in Chennai as well as in the Madurai Bench also decided to abstain from the court proceedings on Tuesday demanding withdrawal of the transfer proposal.

Senior-most judge

They argued that Justice Tahilramani being the senior-most High Court judge in the country, with 18 years of experience, should not be transferred to one of the smallest High Court. The lawyers also questioned the rationale behind making two Chief Justices swap their positions without disclosing specific reasons.

Justice Tahilramani had disclosed her decision to resign to other judges of the Madras High Court on Saturday at a dinner party hosted by six judges, who had been made permanent recently. Then, she reportedly made a speech about having served the judiciary true to her conscience ever since she became a judge of Bombay High Court in 2001.

She was elevated as Chief Justice of Madras High Court in August 2018 and was due to retire from service in October 2020.

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