Row Over Alleged 'Closed Door Meeting' Between Chief Justice S Muralidhar And Orissa CM's Private Secretary
A row has erupted after an Advocate of the Orissa High Court published a photo of Chief Justice S. Muralidhar having what he termed a "closed door meeting" with a few persons including V K Pandian, the Private Secretary to the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Advocate Srinivas Mohanty published the photograph on his Facebook account with the caption, "Chief Justice of Orissa High Court being one of the participants of a closed door meeting regardless of the decorum of the propriety of the judicial head of the state".
The Advocate also quoted the "restatement of values of judicial life" adopted by the Supreme Court, which inter alia says that "Justice must not merely be done but it must also be seen to be done. The behaviour and conduct of members of the higher judiciary must reaffirm the people's faith in the impartiality of the judiciary. Accordingly, any act of a Judge of the Supreme Court or a High Court, whether in official or personal capacity, which erodes the credibility of this perception has to be avoided".
The issue was then widely reported in state media including on electronic media.
V K Pandian who is considered very close to the Chief Minister is also the Secretary to CM-Transformational Initiatives (5T) apart from being the Private Secretary.
The Supreme Court Collegium had on September, 28 recommended the transfer of Justice Muralidhar from the Orissa High Court as the Chief Justice of Madras High Court. However, the Center on October 11 approved the other recommendations of the Collegium except that of the transfer of Justice Muralidhar.
In February 2020, Justice Muralidhar, a then Judge of the Delhi High Court was transferred to the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the same evoked opposition from the Delhi Bar. He was then elevated as the Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court from Punjab and Haryana High Court.