Shifts unexplained – System of shuffling High Court judges without consent needs reconsideration

Source: The post is based on the article “Shifts unexplained – System of shuffling High Court judges without consent needs reconsideration” published in The Hindu on 28th November 2022.

Syllabus: GS 2 – Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary.

Relevance: About transferring the judges of High Courts.

News: A recent round of transfers — from Telangana, Madras and Andhra Pradesh High Courts — has stirred the debate on transferring the judges. There are also reports that the Gujarat High Court Chief Justice was unaware of the impending transfer of a judge from the Gujarat High Court.

What are the norms to be followed while transferring a high court judge?

According to the Memorandum of Procedure, a) A judge’s consent is not necessary to effect a transfer, b) All transfers ought to be in public interest, that is, for better administration of justice throughout the country, c) The personal factors of the judge, including his preference of places, should invariably be taken into account.

What are the concerns associated with the transfer of judges?

The power of transfer has always been seen as a possible threat to judicial independence. For instance, even under the Collegium system, it is difficult to dissipate the impression that the threat of transfer hangs over every judge’s head.

Read more: Why does the SC collegium hold primacy over transfers?
What should be done to ensure impartiality in transferring a judge?

Transfers need not to be used as a punitive step. India needs to do a complete review of the provisions for the transfer of High Court judges.

Read more: There’s a need for transparency in transfer of judges
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