On a day that several members from the Opposition raised the issue of what they called the “sudden” transfer of former Delhi High Court judge Justice S Muralidhar during a debate on the Delhi riots in the Lok Sabha, some key members from the Treasury chose to corner the judiciary over violence in the capital.
Delhi MP Meenakshi Lekhi questioned the wisdom of allowing non-violent protests. “Some judges, I will not take their names, think police shouldn’t act until protests turn violent…Under the circumstances, it is difficult to gauge when a peaceful protest will turn violent. Who will decide when will a dharna turn violent?” Lekhi said while participating in the debate.
Lekhi blamed the riots on anti-CAA protests that had been going on in Delhi since December and also alleged that the majority had suffered at the hands of the minority during the riots.
BJP MP from Bettiah and president of BJP’s Bihar unit Sanjay Jaiswal, too, held courts responsible for sustaining tensions that led to Delhi riots.
After blaming Opposition parties and certain elements among the minority community for Delhi riots, Jaiswal said, “There is one more culprit of the Delhi riots. I want to put the country’s judicial system in the dock today. We are all public representatives. When we agitate on the road or block a rail line or a road, we face prosecution by the courts.”
Citing several cases from 1955 to 2011, Jaiswal said that the apex court had held that freedom of expression did not mean that people could obstruct rail and roads. He said the apex court had even held that case related to those who block rail and roads should be heard in fast-track courts.
“Then what is the reason that when 10 lakh people are facing difficulties daily in Delhi, the court is sending mediators to talk to protestors? Among the mediators is the person who is alleged to have offered various delicacies to terrorists who had captured Hazratbal Dargah (in Kashmir). He goes to Shaheen Bagh and says that people are not blocking the road but police is,” Jaiswal said.
He demanded action against those blocking the road in Shaheen Bagh. “Or else the Supreme Court must say that it is not a crime to block a road, a rail line or even shut down the Supreme Court and that people can protest peacefully,” Jaiswal said.
Several other members from the Treasury defended the government’s action on transfer of Justice Muralidhar saying his tranfer had been recommended by the Supreme Court and the government merely followed the recommendations.
The Opposition had tried to corner the government over Justice Muralidhar’s transfer saying he was transferred because he ordered registration of FIRs against hate speeches made by BJP leaders Kapil Mishra, Pravesh Verma and Anurag Thakur.
When an Opposition MP shouted Justice Muralidhar’s name, Lekhi said: “They are taking some names. They know very well how appointments are made… transfers cannot happen without recommendations… I would say that IB reports about judges should be made public. Then we will know why the transfer was done.”
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