GUWAHATI: Following a three-month-old recommendation from the Supreme Court Collegium, Justice Siddharth Mridul was named the Chief Justice of the Manipur High Court on Monday.
“In line with the powers granted by the Constitution of India, and following consultation with the Chief Justice of India, the President of India has appointed Justice Siddharth Mridul of the Delhi High Court as the Chief Justice of Manipur High Court. I convey my best wishes to him,” Law Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal posted on a micro-blogging website.
The apex court collegium, led by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, had proposed Justice Mridul, a serving judge of the Delhi High Court, for the Chief Justice position in Manipur High Court on July 5.
On October 9, a Supreme Court bench highlighted that the appointment for the Chief Justice of the Manipur High Court was finally being considered by the Centre and an official announcement would be made soon. This move comes amid escalating ethnic tensions in the border state.
However, this appointment faced delays as the Centre was awaiting the views of the state’s chief minister, a necessary requirement in line with the memorandum of procedure on the appointment, elevation, and transfer of high court judges.
Presently, the Manipur HC is overseen by an acting chief justice.
In another development, the Supreme Court Collegium had recently suggested transferring Justice MV Muralidaran from the Manipur High Court to the Calcutta High Court, citing the “better administration of justice”.
Notably, Justice Muralidaran’s verdict in March, which discussed the potential inclusion of the Meitei community in the Scheduled Tribe (ST) list, sparked significant unrest in the northeastern state.
On October 10, Justice Muralidaran appealed to the collegium to either transfer him to his original High Court in Madras or allow him to stay in Manipur High Court.
He explicitly mentioned his reservations about moving to the Calcutta High Court. Nonetheless, the collegium reaffirmed its initial recommendation, stating in an October 11 resolution, “The collegium does not find merit in the requests made by him and resolves to reiterate its recommendation dated 9 October 2023 for Mr. Justice MV Muralidaran’s transfer to the Calcutta High Court.”