Madras High Court Chief Justice VK Tahilramani sent her resignation papers to President Ram Nath Kovind, three days after the Supreme Court collegium rejected her request to reconsider her transfer to the Meghalaya High Court, according to media reports.
On August 28, the Collegium, headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, recommended that Justice Tahilramani be transferred to the Meghalaya High Court “in the interest of better administration of justice”. The same day, the Collegium transferred Meghalaya High Court Chief Justice A K Mittal to the Madras High Court as Chief Justice, also “in the interest of better administration of justice”. The resolution did not disclose any other reason for the transfer.
Apart from the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, the Collegium comprises Justices S A Bobde, N V Ramana, Arun Mishra and Rohinton F Nariman. When Justice Tahilramani was asked to respond as per the Memorandum of Procedure, she sent a representation to the Collegium on September 2, requesting reconsideration of her transfer.
But on September 3, the Collegium stood by its decision.
“The Collegium has carefully gone through the… 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. The Collegium, accordingly, reiterates its recommendation dated 28th August, 2019 for transfer of Mrs Justice V K Tahilramani to Meghalaya High Court,” said the resolution dated September 3, which was uploaded on the Supreme Court’s website.
While the Madras High Court has a sanctioned strength of 75 judges, three judges make the Meghalaya High Court. Currently, it has only two judges — Chief Justice A K Mittal and Justice Hamarsan Singh Thangkhiew.
Prior to her appointment as Chief Justice of Madras High Court in August 2018, Justice Tahilramani had been Acting Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court thrice since 2015. Before being appointed a judge of the Bombay High Court in 2001, Tahilramani was a government pleader and public prosecutor for the Maharashtra government.
Her landmark rulings include the order recognizing abortion rights of female prisoners and the verdict upholding life imprisonment in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case of the post-Godhra riots.