Justice S Muralidhar, whose abrupt transfer from the Delhi High Court to the Punjab and Haryana High Court after large-scale communal violence in the Capital last month raised several questions, on Monday asked lawyers to not address him as “my lord” or “lordship”, PTI reported.
“It is for the information of respected members of the Bar that Justice S Muralidhar has requested that they may try and avoid addressing him as ‘your lordship’ or ‘my lord’,” read a note attached to the list of cases issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday.
A few years ago, the High Court Bar Association in Chandigarh had asked its members to address judges as “sir” or “your honour”. Lawyers have argued that the practice of addressing judges as “my lord” is a legacy of the colonizers and must be done away with.
Earlier this month, Murlidhar had been given a rousing farewell by his colleagues and lawyers at the Delhi High Court, where he had served since 2006. Photos on social media showed a massive gathering of lawyers, cheering for the outgoing judge from corridors. His colleagues showered praise on him, describing him as the “Kohinoor of the Delhi High Court”.
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 led to questions.
Just hours ago, a bench comprising Muralidhar and Justice Talwant Singh had pulled up the Delhi police for not registering a case against Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, whose hate speech was blamed for the clashes in Delhi that left 53 people dead.
Murlidhar had been part of many notable judgements, including the one that decriminalised homosexuality in 2009 and the January 2010 order that the Chief Justice of India’s office came within the purview of the RTI.