The Supreme Court on Friday declined to interfere with the transfer of Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) judicial member Justice Dharam Chand Chaudhary from Chandigarh to the Kolkata bench of the tribunal..However, the Court sought the Central government's response on the wider prayer to divest control over the AFT from the Union Ministry of Defence (MOD). This prayer was made by the AFT Bar Association at Chandigarh in view of concerns that the MOD has been interfering in the functioning of AFTs, thereby denting its independence. .However, as far as Justice Chaudhary's transfer was concerned, the Court did not accede to arguments that it was done at the Central government's behest. A bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud opined that there was no reason to doubt the AFT Chairperson's discretionary powers to direct the transfer. Therefore, it dismissed the petition filed by the AFT Chandigarh Bar Association to halt the transfer of Justice Chaudhary. ."There is no reason for this court to doubt the exercise of administrative discretion of the chairperson of AFT on this ground as posting of members to different benches lies within the administrative control of the chairperson. It is (also clarified) that the Chairperson has stated that no execution application has not been transferred from any regional benches. Thus, we come to the conclusion that the administrative discretion to transfer Justice Chaudhary does not merit interference under Article 32. The petition seeking interference in his transfer stands rejected ... However, Centre to file its reply to the prayer of the petition seeking to divest AFT from the control of the Ministry of Defense. Reply to be filed in 3 weeks," the Court's order said. .The Court was hearing a plea by the Bar Association to halt the transfer order issued by the AFT Chairperson. The Association moved the Court alleging that the transfer was a consequence of the strict orders passed by Justice Chaudhary against MoD senior government officials. The Court had earlier stayed the transfer in an October 9 order.It had also called for an explanation from the chairperson on the reasons for the transfer to be submitted in sealed cover.Pursuant to that chairperson had given a detailed explanation setting out the reasons for the transfer..Hearing today.As per the explanation, there was a shortage of judicial members at the AFT Kolkata Bench and that the Chandigarh Bench was the only Bench where there was a surplus of judicial members. "Justice Chaudhary being seniormost was transferred to Kolkata temporarily.. is this not within the power of the Chairperson? ... The Chairperson has to be given some free play.. He is saying it is a temporary transfer," CJI Chandrachud observed. .The hearing also saw an exchange of heated arguments between Attorney General of India (AG) R Venkataramani and Advocate K Parameshwar who appeared for the AFT Chandigarh Bar Association.AG Venkataramani maintained that the AFT Chairperson must be trusted to make decisions on the matter and criticised the petition challenging Justice Chaudhary's transfer as being a collusive case. "The head of the institution should be trusted with what he is doing in public interest and if all has to be looked into then it opens a can of worms," the AG argued.The AG also referred to concerns that Justice Dharam Chand Chaudhary had been advised against the manner in which he was dealing with decades-old petition cases. "A person died in 1980s and pension was ordered since 1984... In every case (₹) 30 to 40 lakh of arrears ... Such orders are becoming orders of the day.. 8,000 cases pending in Punjab ... 1942 petitions being converted into execution petitions... Chairperson advised him not to do so...," the AG submitted. However, things took a more contentious turn when the AG disclosed that these issues had been taken note of for over a month. "This petition is becoming a racket on disability pension and this is a business ... I have been pursuing the matter for a month," the AG said.Parameshwar then responded that the AG's submissions only reinforced their argument that the transfer was at the behest of the government. "Now the cat is out of the bag ... My God! The transfer is now clearly at the behest of the government ... AG says he is pursuing the matter for a month," Parameshwar replied.The Court, however, refused to interfere..On such concerns, the Bar Association had also been on indefinite strike to protest Justice Chaudhary's transfer, which it termed a "direct assault on the independence of the judiciary."