Members of the bar association in Chennai are staging a protest outside the Madras High Court. This is in support of Madras HC Chief Justice Vijaya K Tahilramani who resigned days after the Supreme Court collegium declined her request for reconsideration of transfer to Meghalaya.
The collegium, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi had recommended the transfer of justice Tahilramani who was elevated as the Madras HC chief justice on August 8 last year. On August 28, 2019, the collegium decided to transfer her to Meghalaya High Court. On September 3, she requested the SC collegium to reconsider the transfer decision which was eventually turned down after which she sent in her resignation.
The left has jumped in this controversy calling the move by the SC shocking and disturbing. CPIM has said that the treatment meted out to Ramyani is insulting and humiliating to the women of this country.
The bar association members and also the advocates association of the Madras HC are protesting outside the Madras HC supporting Romani and are also protesting against the collegium, stating that the transfer order is not legal.
Raj Shekar, advocate in the Madras HC stated, "The collegium has taken a decision against the wish of the majority. The whole of state of Tamil Nadu, the lawyers fraternity and we the people and we the lawyers of Tamil Nadu and the Madra bar and Madra High Court advocates association and women lawyer's association, everybody is united we are standing behind the Chief Justice's transfer because it is arbitrary, it is against the wish and she has done only good to the state and high court. She was an honest Chief Justice. She was doing her job meticulously, without any fear or favour. She was one of the best Chief justice's the Madras HC has ever seen."
A lawyer protesting added, "There is no reason to transfer her as there has been no complaint against her. There have been no complains of corruption, even suspicion of corruption."
Senior lawyer Abha Singh said, "She (Romani) is an outstanding judge of high integrity and the way she has been deported has filled all of us with anger and we are very disappointed with the government that rather than appreciating her work, rather than bringing her to bombay they are sending her to Meghalaya which is very unfair."
The advocates through the incident impressed upon the need for transparency in the system. Since there is no parliamentary legislation governing the transfer of judges, the power is often exercised arbitrarily and there have been precedents in which the decision of the collegium was reversed. According to the advocates, due to Romani's bold step, she has introduced an impetus, encouraging implementation of a transparent system in the collegium.
In order to display their protest, the advocates are planning to conduct a statewide boycott on September 10. They demand that the CJI advise the collegium to reverse the order and to restore Justice Tahilramani back to her original post. They also request the Hon'ble President of India to not accept her resignation in the larger interests of judiciary.