Almost 237 lawyers of the Madras HC have written to the five Supreme Court judges who make up the Collegium, registering their protest against its recommendation to transfer Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee to the Meghalaya High Court.
The letter states that the transfer is being made within just 10 months of Justice Banerjee assuming office in Madras, raising concerns whether the transfer is in “public interest” or “better administration of justice”, factors which are paramount when transfers of judges are sought.
Similar transfers in the past have led to speculation about whether they were affected due to improprieties on the part of the concerned judge or whether there were external factors that led to the decision, the lawyers said.
On Justice Banerjee’s tenure, the letter says that Justice Banerjee steered the court through difficult and unprecedent times by ensuring there is no hampering in the efficient use of the justice system.
Chief Justice Banerjee recently steered a massive gender sensitisation programme covering 1,700 court staff and has assured that the programme would be extended to the judiciary in the State as well, including High Court judges, it added.
It also mentions that Justice Banerjee had passed several judgments upholding constitutional rights, value of free speech, secularism, free and fair elections, right to health and State accountability that may well have earned the ire of those in power.
In view of the above, the lawyers have requested the Collegium to reconsider its decision to transfer Justice Banerjee.