Vijaya Kamlesh Tahilramani, Chief Justice of Madras High Court, resigns today after the Supreme Court Collegium proposed her transfer to the Meghalaya High court—one of the smallest High Courts in the country. Justice Tahilramani shared the information of her resignation with her colleagues at Madras HC during a dinner on September 6.

She decided to resign after the Collegium denied the request made by the advocates of the Madras HC in a letter addressed to the SC to reconsider its decision. The collegium chaired by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi proposed Justice Tahilramani’s transfer on August 28 after it had already transferred Justice A K Mittal, the Chief Justice of Meghalaya High Court to the Madras High Court.

“The collegium has carefully gone through the aforesaid representation and taken into consideration all relevant factors. On reconsideration, the collegium is of the considered view that it is not possible to accede to her request.”- Supreme Court

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“The collegium has carefully gone through the aforesaid representation and taken into consideration all relevant factors. On reconsideration, the collegium is of the considered view that it is not possible to accede to her request,” said the resolution dated September 3, which was uploaded on the Supreme Court’s website.

“The collegium, accordingly, reiterates its recommendation dated August 28, 2019, for transfer of Justice V K Tahilramani to Meghalaya High Court,” it said.

The letter that the advocates of Madras High Court wrote to the SC contended that Tahilramani is the senior-most High Court judge in all-India seniority. She has served as the Acting Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court on two occasions before being transferred to the Madras High Court to serve as the Chief Justice. And now to transfer her from a chartered High Court to the smallest high court in the country which has only three judges is “unfair and humiliating”.

They also expressed their shock as a judge who was junior to Justice Tahilramani was being promoted as the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court.

To transfer her from a chartered High Court to the smallest high court in the country which has only three judges is “unfair and humiliating.”- Advocates of Madras High Court

Justice Tahilramani was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court on August 5, 2018, and the took the office over from Justice Indira Banerjee, who was elevated to the position of Supreme Court Judge. Before that, she served at the Bombay High Court since 2001 and was the seniormost judge there at the time of her transfer to Madras HC. The SC Collegium, comprising of the then Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Madan B Lokur had transferred her.

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She served as a public prosecutor before attaining judgeship. In the early 2000s, Justice Tahilramani presided the bench as a judge and delivered the sentence in the infamous Bilkis Bano gang rape case after it was transferred to Bombay High Court from Gujarat.

Justice Mittal who has been transferred to Madras High Court by the SC collegium is junior to Justice Tahilramani by at least three years of service. Justice Tahilramani barely had a year of service left as a High Court judge before retiring on October 3, 2020.

Picture credit- Twitter

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