New Delhi , Nov 10 : The Supreme Court Collegium has recommended the transfer of Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee to the Meghalaya High Court. Meghalaya High Court is a smaller court compared to Madras High Court, with just three judges compared to the Madras HC strength of a sanctioned 75 judges.
The Madras high court is the fourth largest high court (after the Allahabad, Bombay and Punjab and Haryana high courts) with a sanctioned strength of 75 judges, of whom 56 are permanent and 19 are additional. On the other hand, the Meghalaya high court is one of the few small high courts, with a sanctioned strength of just four judges – three permanent judges and one additional judge.
According to SC court website, the collegium headed by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, in its meeting held on Sep 16, has also recommended the transfer of Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari of the Allahabad High Court to the Madras High Court.
“The Supreme Court Collegium in its meeting held on September 16, 2021 has recommended transfer of Justice Sanjib Banerjee, Chief Justice, Madras High Court to Meghalaya High Court,” said an official statement . In addition to the CJI, Justices UU Lalit and AM Khanwilkar are part of the three-member collegium which currently takes decisions with regard to transfer of high court judges.
Justice Banerjee made headlines when he asked why murder charges cannot be filed against the Election Commission for its failure to stop abuse of COVID protocols in election rallies by the political parties. The Supreme Court later termed these remarks harsh and inappropriate
The recommendation made by the Collegium will now be forwarded to the Union government and then to the President for approval.
It is not yet clear whether Justice Banerjee will accept the transfer to a relatively small high court, whose volume of work is comparatively negligible.
In 2019, Justice Vijaya Tahilramani had resigned in protest over her transfer to Meghalaya High Court. The collegium’s decision then had raised eyebrows, since Justice Tahilramani was being moved from a court with a sanctioned strength of 75 judges to a smaller court with just three judges.
With inputs from The Leaflet