Justice S Muralidhar, whose transfer to the Punjab and Haryana High Court triggered criticism of the government last month, was on Thursday given a grand farewell by the Delhi High Court Bar Association. The judge was described as the “Kohinoor” of the Delhi High Court, reported Bar and Bench. He had been at the Delhi High Court since 2006.

On February 12, the Supreme Court collegium had recommended the transfer of Muralidhar to the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Muralidhar was the third senior most judge in the Delhi High Court. However, the timing of the government’s confirmation of the transfer on the night of February 26 sparked a row. Hours earlier, a bench comprising Muralidhar and Justice Talwant Singh came down heavily on the police for not registering a case against BJP leaders for hate speech before the communal violence in Delhi.

“We are losing a most eminent judge who can discuss on any topic of law and decide any type of matter,” Chief Justice DN Patel said at the farewell ceremony. Secretary of the Delhi High Court Bar Association, Abhijat, called him the “Kohinoor” of the High Court, and said he would “only going a few 100 km away”.

Scores of lawyers were seen in the hall in the images posted on social media. Addressing the gathering, Muralidhar said coming to the Delhi High Court was an “unbelievable irony”, adding that being a lawyer was not his first career choice.

“I was not meant to do law,” he said. “I used to play cricket with the son of a lawyer and I used to leave my cricket bag in his chambers. I had signed up for MSC.”

The lawyer spoke about the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy. “When justice has to triumph, it will triumph...Be with the truth – justice will be done,” he added.

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