SC rejects transfer of Madras HC judge, approves request of two others

The Supreme Court Collegium recently rejected a request made by Justice VM Velumani to retain her as a Madras High Court judge or in any North-Eastern states. The Collegium, headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, rejected the request of Justice Velumani and refused to reconsider the original decision.

The Collegium, in its resolution dated 29 September, 2022, had proposed to transfer Justice Velumani to the Calcutta High Court for the better administration of justice. Justice Velumani, who was appointed as a judge of the Madras High Court on 20 December, 2013, sought reconsideration of the recommendation in a letter dated 14 October, 2022. Her request was not granted by the Collegium, which reiterated its recommendation for her transfer.

Justice Velumani, in a communication dated 17 March, 2023, sought a transfer to a High Court of the North-Eastern States, preferably Manipur or Tripura, on the ground that she would then be able to retain her official accommodation in Chennai.

“The request made by Justice VM Velumani to retain her at the Madras High Court has been rejected by the Collegium on an earlier occasion. There is no valid reason to reconsider the earlier decision of the Collegium by which her transfer has been recommended to the Calcutta High Court or to grant her fresh request. Her request for transfer to either Manipur or Tripura or any High Court in the North-Eastern States is rejected,” stated the resolution passed by the Collegium.

In another resolution, the Collegium, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, KM Joseph, MR Shah, and Ajay Rastogi, accepted the request of Justice Sanjeev Prakash Sharma for the transfer to the Punjab and Haryana High Court from the Patna High Court, where he is currently posted.

Justice Sharma has sought repatriation to the Rajasthan High Court on the ground of his poor health and the unavailability of adequate medical facilities in Patna. “He has informally requested that if his repatriation to the Rajasthan High Court is not possible, he would seek a transfer to the High Court of Punjab and Haryana in view of the nature of the medical facilities available at Chandigarh to facilitate treatment of his condition,” the resolution stated.

It added that the Collegium resolved that it is not possible to repatriate Justice Sharma to his parent court. “Bearing in mind the health reasons that have led the judge to seek a transfer out of the High Court where he is posted at present, the Collegium resolves that Justice Sharma be transferred to the High Court of Punjab and Haryana,” the Collegium said.

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