“I am one of the beginners of this change,” Justice Bibek Chaudhuri said, addressing the court’s senior bar and bench members.
“It was the desire of the collegium to make me part with you. The Indian Constitution contains a provision under Article 222 that a judge should be transferred. Therefore, I accepted the transfer without any remorse. At the same time, by receiving the order of transfer, I consider myself as becoming a part of history.”
Chaudhuri hastened to add that Article 222 should be “looked into”.
“The government of India formally announced on January 28, 1983 that the chief justices of high courts would be from other states, and one-third of the judges of one high court (too) must be from outside… I believe our transfer is the beginning of the introduction and implementation of that policy. But, in all humility, I would like to say… Article 222 should be considered very sparingly.”
The SC collegium transferred Justice Chaudhuri to the Patna HC on August 3 this year. He appealed to the collegium to reconsider his transfer on August 9. But a week later, the collegium considered his request and turned it down. Chaudhuri, who was elevated to the bench from judicial service, became a permanent judge in May 2020.
“I received the utmost respect, love and affection from the members of the bar. Therefore, I feel sorry to leave you,” he said. “My chief justice adorably tells me that I am an outspoken judge.”
His parting shot? “(I have) promises to keep.”