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Patna HC whistleblower judge taken off duty after he complains of graft

Unprecedented 11-judge bench, including CJ Sahi, suspend Justice Kumar's order, call it attack on majesty of court

Aashish Aryan  |  New Delhi 

Patna HC
Patna HC. Photo: Wikipedia

Hours after a single judge Bench of Justice Rakesh Kumar of the Patna High Court passed orders observing that corruption was rampant in the premises of the court, an 11-judge Bench of the same court, including Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi, suspended the order. The bench, led by Chief Justice Sahi, held that the order passed by Kumar on Wednesday was an "attack on judicial hierarchy, judicial integrity and majesty of the court.

“Justice Rakesh Kumar had, in his detailed order passed yesterday, expressed his concerns over alleged casteism and corruption in the high court and the entire judicial system. He had also made some adverse remarks against judges who have retired or passed away,” Advocate General of Bihar Lalit Kishor, said.

All matters pending before the Justice Kumar have also been withdrawn from immediate effect. A notice for Chief Justice Sahi’s court has also sought explanation from the registrar as to how the said case was listed before Justice Kumar.

Justice Kumar had on Wednesday, while hearing a case of anticipatory bail moved by a former Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer. In his order, Justice Kumar noted that the IAS officer had been denied anticipatory bail petition in a case related to corruption in the distribution of funds meant for “upliftment of member of suppressed society”. The IAS officer had later surrendered before a judge in-charge, instead of the regular judge, and got bail.

“Of course, grant of bail or refusal of bail is complete discretion of the court, but if the manner, in which, an accused is granted bail, which raises finger against the judiciary, certainly exercising supervisory power, this Court is entitled to examine as to whether the power for grant of bail was exercised judiciously or due to some extraneous consideration,” Justice Kumar said in his order.

Justice Kumar, in his order further noted that though he would not have taken suo motu cognisance of the matter in the normal course of circumstances, he was taking note of it because things were not going in the right perspective over the past few years. The judge, in his oral order, also said that a sting operation shown by a television channel “was reflective of the fact that in court premises of the Patna Civil Court, demanding and accepting illegal gratification was rampant”.

“In any event, the High Court was duty-bound to register an (First Information Report) FIR and get the matter investigated by an independent investigating agency. Unfortunately, no such action was taken by this Court,” Justice Kumar said in the order.

First Published: Thu, August 29 2019. 20:08 IST
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