The Supreme Court Collegium Issued a Statement on the Justice Tahilramani Controversy
How can a public institution be so opaque as to control the postings of public officials, with no cause given for the mandates they issue?
The Supreme Court Secretary-General today issued a statement regarding the Collegium’s role in the Justice Tahilramani controversy. This statement was released in the context of Justice VK Tahilramani, the former Chief Justice of the Chennai High Court, being arbitrarily issued a transfer to Meghalaya.
The statement released today states that the Supreme Court has no qualms to disclose the reasons behind the transfer of judges, if necessary.
It then goes on to state, “All recommendations made for the transfer of judges are done based on cogent reasons, after complying with the required procedure in the interest of the better administration of justice.”
The collegium, headed by Chief Justice Gogoi, had recommended transfer of Justice Tahilramani, who was elevated as the Madras High Court's Chief Justice on August 8 last year, to the Meghalaya High Court. The collegium had recommended her transfer on August 28, after which she had made a representation requesting it to reconsider the proposal. However, the collegium refused her request for reconsideration. Subsequent to this, she tendered her resignation to President Ram Nath Kovind and sent a copy of it to Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi.
The apex court collegium -- also comprising justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, Arun Mishra and R F Nariman -- has recommended that Meghalaya High Court's Chief Justice Justice A K Mittal be transferred to Madras High Court as its Chief Justice. It has also recommended transfer of Justice Vivek Agarwal of the Madhya Pradesh High Court to Allahabad High Court and Justice Amit Rawal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the Kerala High Court.
The most interesting part of the statement is this oblique sentence nestled in the middle - “Though it would not be in the interest of the institution to disclose the reasons for transfer, if found necessary, the Collegium will have no hesitation in disclosing the same”.
Here, it must be asked. What are these reasons that are not in the interest of the institution, if they were to be released? How can a public institution be so opaque as to control the postings of public officials, with no cause given for the mandates they issue?
Speculation is now rife about what these reasons could be, but Justice Tahilaramani has been the epitome of poise through it all. Her quiet and dignified resignation led the Madras Bar to boycott the courts for a day, to express their solidarity with her.