Chennai: The Supreme Court Collegium's decision to transfer Madras High Court Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee to the Meghalaya High Court has now been publicly announced by the Centre.
"In exercise of the power conferred under the Constitution of India, Honorable President of India, in consultation with Hon. The Chief Justice of India, is pleased to transfer Justice Sanjib Banerjee, CJ Madras High Court, as CJ Meghalaya High Court," read a statement from the Justice Department of the Government of India on Monday. Protests were held by the Madras High Court legal community against the Chief Justice's transfer to the Meghalaya High Court. The lawyers argued that Justice Sanjib Banerjee had only taken office as Chief Justice of the Madras High Court in January 2021, and that his transfer after only ten months on the bench was unfounded.
Justice Sanjib Banerjee's transfer from the Madras High Court, which is a chartered high court with a strength of 75 judges, to a relatively low-profile high court like Meghalaya, which has a sanctioned strength of only four judges, has been questioned by retired judges and senior attorneys.
A total of 237 Madras High Court lawyers wrote to the Collegium, demanding that the decision to transfer Justice Sanjib Banerjee be reconsidered. The Collegium had also received a letter from 31 designated lawyers from the High Court, inquiring about the cause for the move. The Madras Bar Association (MBA) and the Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) have both written to the Collegium requesting that the judgment be reconsidered.