Madras High Court former Chief Justice maintains silence on CBI exonerating her

Madras High Court former Chief Justice Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani. File
| Photo Credit: The Hindu

The Madras High Court’s former Chief Justice Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani, whose resignation from the coveted post created a furore in 2019, has decided to maintain silence even after the Lok Sabha was informed of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) not having found any cognisable offence made out in the reference made against her by the Supreme Court’s Secretary-General on September 26, 2019.

When contacted to know her views on the latest development that took place in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, Justice Tahilramani told The Hindu, “So sorry, I have always maintained a ‘no comments’ policy.”

She chose not to comment even in 2019 when she resigned following the move to transfer her to Meghalaya. Then she had said: “I do not wish to make any comments or discuss the matter. Kindly excuse me.”

Justice Tahilramani had taken charge as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court on August 12, 2018 after having served as the Acting Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court on three occasions. However, on August 28, 2019, the Supreme Court collegium recommended her transfer to the Meghalaya High Court “in the interest of better administration of justice.” The recommendation was opposed vehemently by the Madras Bar.

Plea turned down

A request made by her on September 2, 2019 to reconsider the recommendation was turned down by the collegium a day later. Thereafter, she forwarded her resignation to the President on September 6, 2019 and disclosed it to other judges of the High Court at a dinner hosted by six judges who had been made permanent after serving as additional judges. The news came as a shocker to the judges of the court.

Subsequently, the Madras Bar requested her to withdraw her resignation and demanded that the recommendation to transfer her should also be reconsidered. When other Bar members in the country too raised voices in support of her, the Supreme Court’s Secretary-General issued a statement on September 12, 2019 stating that though it would not be in the interest of the institution to disclose reasons for transfer, the collegium would not hesitate to disclose if necessary.

Finally, on September 20, 2019 the President accepted her resignation with effect from September 6, 2019 when she had put in her papers. After three years, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Member of Parliament A.K.P. Chinraj, representing Namakkal constituency, had now raised a question in Parliament asking the Prime Minister as to whether the CBI had received any direction either from the Supreme Court or the Chief Justice of India against the former Chief Justice of the Madras High Court.

He specifically wanted to know whether any such direction was issued between July and November 2019, the details thereof and whether any First Information Report (FIR) had been registered in that regard. Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh replied to the question on Wednesday and said the CBI had indeed received a reference from the Secretary-General of the Supreme Court on September 26, 2019.

“The CBI, on verification, found that the reference did not disclose commission of a cognisable offence and accordingly, no offence (sic) has been registered,” the Minister told Parliament. He, however, did not elaborate on what were the charges that were found in the reference made by the Secretary-General.

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