Updated: March 7, 2020 7:37:51 am
Justice S Muralidhar Friday was sworn in as a judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court by the Chief Justice, after receiving a warm welcome from lawyers beginning right from the railway station late on Thursday night to the High Court premises on Friday morning.
Justice Muralidhar was transferred from the Delhi High Court to Chandigarh last week following a recommendation from the Supreme Court Collegium. He is now first puisne (seniormost after the Chief Justice) judge at the High Court here and began hearing cases soon in courtroom number 2 after his oath ceremony. He has been assigned tax and related matters as part of his roster.
Chief Justice Ravi Shanker Jha, in the presence of other judges of the High Court, administered oath of office to Justice Muralidhar at an auditorium thronged by the lawyers, many of whom could not find seats to sit on. The ceremony was also attended by some retired judges of the High Court, Registrars and other senior staff of the High Court. Three judges from the Delhi High Court too attended the ceremony.
“I have visited Chandigarh earlier too… I feel overwhelmed,” Justice Muralidhar said in an informal interaction with mediapersons soon after his swearing-in.
Justice Muralidhar travelled in Shatabdi from Delhi and reached Chandigarh on Thursday night where he was received by a team of the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana and around 50 other lawyers. Justice Arun Monga of the High Court here too was at the railway station to receive Justice Muralidhar, said a lawyer who was there to welcome the judge.
On Thursday, hoardings put up by the lawyers along the route to High Court near Tourist Information Centre also welcomed Justice Muralidhar. “Delhi’s loss (is) Punjab’s gain. Heartiest welcome to Punjab and Haryana High Court,” read one board installed near the High Court entrance.
At the High Court, many lawyers welcomed the judge with roses and were jostling to get pictured with Justice Muralidhar. Justice Muralidhar’s courtroom too was jampacked with lawyers with many finding it impossible to enter. Advocate General Atul Nanda was among those who were present in the courtroom in advance. “It is always customary for an Advocate General to welcome a judge who has come from outside,” said Nanda.
Muralidhar as an advocate began his law practice in Chennai in September 1984 and in 1987 shifted to the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court. His pro bono work included the cases for the victims of the Bhopal Gas Disaster and those displaced by the dams on the Narmada, as per his official profile. It was in May 2006 that he was appointed a judge of the Delhi High Court. With his retirement set in August 2023, Justice Muralidhar is likely to be elevated as Chief Justice of a High Court at a later stage.
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