CHENNAI: Madras high court chief justice Sanjib Banerjee, whose bench said the election commission (ECI) should face murder charges for flouting Covid protocol, has been transferred to the Meghalaya high court.
Justice Banerjee was sworn in as chief justice just over 10 months ago — on January 4, 2021. Though the SC collegium recommended his transfer on September 16, the order was released officially only on Tuesday.
Banerjee, who completed 60 years on November 2, has two years of service left. From the 75-judge chartered Madras HC, he is moving to an HC which has two judges.
In April, the bench headed by him lambasted the poll panel for failing to maintain Covid protocol during campaign for the Tamil Nadu assembly election. It said the “ECI should be put up on murder charges for being the most irresponsible institution (sic)”.
Justice Banerjee had also warned of stalling the election if protocol was not followed. Though the ECI went to the Supreme Court to expunge the observations made by him, the apex court had refused to oblige. In July, the CJ, while sitting at the Madurai bench of the court, chastised the state government for not booking anyone in connection with the Sterlite police firing incident in which 13 protesters were killed. “Can we kill people and throw money at them and say that our job is done?” his bench had asked.
In July, the bench headed by CJ Banerjee had dismissed a plea challenging the validity of a committee constituted by the Tamil Nadu government to study the impact of NEET on students from socially and economically backward classes. The bench had observed that “there is nothing to stop an elected government from studying the impact of NEET”.
In September, a bench headed by CJ Banerjee had stalled elections to Puducherry local bodies citing a “serious anomaly” in reserving seats for scheduled castes and women.
“The SC collegium, in its meeting held on September 16, has recommended transfer of Justice Sanjib Banerjee, Chief Justice, Madras HC, to Meghalaya HC,” said a statement released by the collegium. It has also recommended transfer of Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari, a judge in the Allahabad HC, to the Madras HC.

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