Hours before his transfer order on Wednesday, which the government says was routine after the Supreme Court collegium’s recommendation on February 12, Justice S Muralidhar had said: “We cannot let another 1984-like event happen in this country.”
That was his last hearing on the Delhi clashes and a petition asking for action against hate-speeches. Around 11 pm, a transfer recommended two weeks ago came about, without the usual 14-day period to join.
Delivering a scheduled judgement this morning, the judge said: “That was my last judicial act as a judge of this court.”
Justice Muralidhar was the third most senior judge of the Delhi High Court.
His landmark verdicts included a life term for Congress leader Sajjan Kumar for the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the conviction of policemen for the Hashimpura massacre, in which 42 Muslim men were picked up and killed in 1987.
Justice Muralidhar was also part of the High Court bench that first legalized homosexuality in 2009 on a petition filed by the Naz Foundation.
As a lawyer, he also did pro bono work for the victims of the Bhopal gas disaster and those displaced by the dams on the river Narmada.
He began practicing law in Chennai in September 1984 and shifted to Delhi three years later.
He was active as a lawyer for the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee.
Justice Muralidhar was counsel for the National Human Rights Commission and the Election Commission, and also a part-time member of the Law Commission, between 2002 and 2006, when he was appointed Delhi High Court judge.
During the hearing today, several young lawyers praised him after he announced his “final judicial act” as judge of the Delhi High Court. “You are an inspiration,” said the lawyers.