President accepts Madras HC Chief Justice VK Tahilramani resignation [Read Notification]

President accepts Madras HC Chief Justice VK Tahilramani resignation [Read Notification]

The President of India has accepted the resignation of Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, VK Tahilramani. The Ministry of Law and Justice has today notified the same.

Justice Tahilramani had tended her resignation on September 6 after the Supreme Court Collegium recommended that she be transferred to the Meghalaya High Court,

A resolution for her transfer was first passed on August 28, “in the interest of better administration of justice.”

The abrupt proposal to transfer Chief Justice Tahilramani to the Meghalaya High Court had raised eyebrows, given that Justice Tahilramani was the senior-most judge among High Court judges in the country.

In the ensuing days, protest was registered over the controversial proposal from various quarters, including associations of the Madras Bar. On September 10, lawyers across Tamil Nadu also carried out a one-day court boycott.

The rising chorus of protest against the transfer of Tahilramani CJ also prompted the Collegium to issue a statement revealing that it has no hesitation in disclosing reasons for transfer of judges, if found necessary.

On September 18, a plea was filed in the Madras High Court challenging the Supreme Court Collegium’s proposal to transfer CJ Tahilramani to Meghalaya High Court

Today, the Madras High Court Division Bench of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and N Seshasayee reserved its orders in this PIL.

The petitioner in the case, Advocate M Karpagam, contended that since the Collegium proposal is in the nature of an administrative order, it is amenable to the writ jurisdiction of the High Court. Appearing for Karpagam today, Advocate R Prabakaran challenged the Collegium resolution, arguing that it was made “without making any reference to the President (of India).”

Relying on Article 222 of the Constitution, he argued that the decision to transfer judges between High Courts could be taken only after consultation with the President. Article 222 deals with Transfer of a Judge from one High Court to another and 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.”

While the Collegium may make decisions concerning the appointment of judges, Prabakaran contended that the President must be consulted before judges can be transferred. The hearing was also privy to several interesting comments exchanged on the topic, and other related issues.

As part of his initial arguments, Prabakaran 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.

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