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Eleven-judge HC bench censures judge who flagged corruption in judiciary

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Press Trust of India Patna
An 11-judge bench of the Patna High Court has observed that an order passed by a single-judge bench of the court, which was critical of the judicial system, was designed to shake people's confidence in the judiciary and lower its esteem to levels that may amount to be "contemptuous".
The bench, led by Chief Justice A P Sahi, also suspended the specific order passed by Justice Rakesh Kumar on Wednesday.
"The entire order is a burning example of the violation of principles of natural justice, judicial impropriety and a malicious tirade in the name of some crusade in the opinion of the judge," the order passed by the bench on Thursday and uploaded on the court's website said.
"This is designed to shake the confidence of the public in the judiciary and to lower its esteems to levels that may amount (to be) contemptuous," it added.
In his August 28 verdict, Justice Rakesh Kumar had expressed concerns over alleged casteism and corruption in the high court and the entire judicial system. The judge had also made some adverse remarks against judges who had retired or died, Advocate General of Bihar Lalit Kishor had said on Wednesday.
Taking a serious note of the matter, the chief justice constituted a bench comprising 11 judges.
"The bench finds this a painful task to perform, but, nonetheless, it deserves to be performed.... When we have to uphold the majesty of the institution, an individual judge's identity is inconsequential.
"We are, therefore, left with no other option but to suspend the entire order dated 28th of August, 2019 with a further direction that the file of the case shall not be placed before the learned single judge," the 23-page order of the bench said, referring to the matter involving Justice Kumar.
"To cast a slur and to figuratively assassinate your own brethren should be avoided in all judicial pronouncements, but the personal pride of the learned single judge has manifested itself so profusely, forgetting the Bible that who judges others, condemns himself and a word spoken is an arrow let fly," the order read.
It said Justice Kumar's "private prejudices founded on his perception of history and relentless obsessions that appear to have been expressed in a language that is...malicious, contumacious, demeaning and completely insensitive to the living and the dead alike".
However, it said, "We should not in the least be misunderstood to be insensitive or averse to the concerns expressed by the single judge."

Justice Kumar had passed the order while taking suo motu cognisance of the grant of bail to retired IAS officer K P Ramaiah by a vigilance court here, a year after the anticipatory bail plea of the former bureaucrat, accused in a corruption case, was turned down.

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First Published: Aug 30 2019 | 7:55 PM IST

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