Transfer of Chief Justice VK Tahilramani: Madras Lawyers' Associations to boycott Court tomorrow

Meera Emmanuel September 9 2019
Madras High Court

Various lawyers' associations of the Madras High Court have announced a one-day Court boycott tomorrow, in protest of the Supreme Court Collegium's decision to transfer Madras High Court Chief Justice VK Tahilramani to Meghalaya.

In this regard, a circular issued by the Madras High Court Advocates' Association today states,

"In consultation with other Bar Associations and to express our solidarity and whole hearted support to our Hon’ble Chief Justice on the issue of Her Lordship’s transfer and assault on the Constitution and to protect independence of the Judiciary, we have unanimously resolved to abstain from all Courts and Tribunals on Tuesday, 10th September 2019."

The Madras Bar Association (MBA) has also endorsed the proposed boycott, following an extraordinary general body held this afternoon. Speaking to Bar & Bench, President of the MBA and Senior Advocate, ARL Sundaresan confirmed that the body has decided on the following, i.e.

  • to appeal to the Supreme Court Collegium to reconsider the decision to transfer the present Chief Justice of the Madras High Court to Meghalaya High Court.
  • to appeal to Chief Justice VK Tahilramani to reconsider and withdraw her resignation
  • to appeal to the President of India and the Central Government not to accept the resignation of Chief Justice VK Tahilramani as well as the Collegium's resolution proposing her transfer
  • to follow the decision of the other bar associations to abstain from Court for one day on 10.9.2019 (Tuesday), as a mark of solidarity among the members of the Bar.

In the meanwhile, advocates practicing at the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court have also reportedly called for an indefinite court boycott starting from tomorrow against the proposed transfer of Chief Justice Tahilramani.

On a related note, Tamil Nadu's Law Minister, CV Shanmugam met with Chief Justice Tahilramani today in order to request that she withdraws her resignation. Chief Justice Tahilramani had abstained from presiding over Court today. 75 matters had been listed before her Bench as per a causelist issued on Friday, prior to her resignation.

Chief Justice Tahilramani's resignation came days after the Supreme Court Collegium declined to reconsider their proposal to transfer her to the Meghalaya High Court as its Chief Justice.

A resolution for her transfer was first passed on August 28, "in the interest of better administration of justice." By another resolution passed the same day, the Collegium had recommended that Chief Justice AK Mittal, who presently helms the Meghalaya High Court take Chief Justice Tahilramani's place at the Madras High Court.

Justice Tahilramani had then written to the Collegium requesting it to reconsider the proposal to transfer her to Meghalaya High Court.

The Supreme Court Collegium had, however, refused to accede to her request and passed a resolution on September 3 reiterating its earlier recommendation to transfer Justice Tahilramani to the Meghalaya High Court.

The abrupt proposal to transfer Chief Justice Tahilramani to the Meghalaya High Court had raised eyebrows, given that Justice Tahilramani is currently the senior-most judge among High Court judges in the country. Before being appointed Madras High Court Chief Justice, she was heading the Bombay High Court as its acting Chief Justice. While Madras and Bombay High Courts are two among the largest High Courts in the country, the Meghalaya High Court has a sanctioned strength of three judges including the Chief Justice.

[Read the MHAA circular]

MHAA Notice - Court Boycott - CJ VK Tahilramani transfer