Power to transfer judges of High Court

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Recently, the Center has notified the transfer of the Chief Justice of Madras High Court amid protests by advocates.

In exercise of the power conferred by Article-22 of the Indian Constitution, the President has, after consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI), transferred the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court to the Meghalaya High Court.

The transfer has been sharply criticized by various sections of the legal profession, as it has been considered “punitive”.

Procedure for transfer of judges

  • The motion for transfer of a Judge should be initiated by the Chief Justice of India (CJI), whose opinion is the determinant in this regard.
  • The first or subsequent transfer of a Judge shall not require his consent.
  • All transfers are expected to be made in public interest.
  • The Constitution does not specify the grounds or procedure by which such power is exercised.
  • The power to select, appoint and transfer judges is derived from the Supreme Court’s decision in three-judge cases.

The following points have emerged from the various judgments of the Supreme Court on the subject of transfer of judges:

  • Transfer of judge cannot be a punitive measure.
  • Transfer can be ordered only on ‘public interest’ for better administration of justice.
  • The transfer can be ordered by the President only on the basis of the consent of the CJI after effective consultation.

Article 222

Provisions have been made for the transfer of a Judge (including the Chief Justice) from one High Court to another High Court.

Source – The Hindu

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