Even as violence is slowly ebbing away in Delhi, the fake news around the it continues to swirl.
Last night, several prominent media persons spread the news that Justice Murlidhar, who was hearing the Delhi Violence Case, had been transferred right after he’d been critical of the Delhi Police. It was made to appear that his transfer was politically motivated, and took place because he had pulled up the Delhi Police in his hearing.
One of the first people to spread the canard was Saikat Dutta, who is the South Asia Editor of Asia Times. ” Justice S Muralidhar removed from the Delhi violence case. This is as blatant as it can get. He was asking hard questions and pressing for an FIR against hate speech,” he tweeted while sharing a Quint article.
The news was further spread by journalist Arvind Gunasekar. ” On the day, Justice Muralidhar of Delhi HC grilled Centre & Delhi Police over violence in NCR and inaction against BJP leaders for their communal/hate speeches, Govt issues notification effecting his transfer to Punjab and Haryana HC,” he said.
By today morning, opposition politicians got into the act. Rahul Gandhi, who didn’t attend the Congress Working Committee yesterday because he was “abroad”, tweeted this from his Twitter account.
He was followed by sister Priyanka Gandhi. “The midnight transfer of Justice Muralidhar isn’t shocking given the current dispensation, but it is certianly sad & shameful. Millions of Indians have faith in a resilient & upright judiciary, the government’s attempts to muzzle justice & break their faith are deplorable,” she tweeted.
But as it turned out, the entire outrage was based off a blatant lie, because the order to transfer Justice Murlidhar to Haryana had been made on 12th February, before the Delhi riots had even taken place and he’d taken part in the hearing.
This was also clarified by Union Minister Ravishankar Prasad. “Transfer of Justice Muralidhar was done pursuant to recommendation dated 12.02.2020 of the Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India. While transferring the judge consent of the judge is taken. The well settled process has been followed,” he said.
Most tellingly, even leftist propaganda outlets had published news about the transfer of Justice Murlidhar even before the Delhi riots had taken place. On 19th February, The Wire had carried an article titled “SC Collegium Recommends Transfer of Justice Muralidhar From Delhi HC.”
As such, it’s abundantly clear that Justice Murlidhar’s transfer had nothing to do with the Delhi case he’d heard yesterday. But the fact that prominent journalists, and prominent politicians, including former Congress President Rahul Gandhi, chose to spread the fake news shows that they’re willing to compromise on anything, including the reputation of the Indian judiciary, in order to try and malign the Modi government.