Citizens' Issues
Judiciary confused about ways of dealing with errant judges

RTI petitions yield confusing information on receiving complaints about judges of superior courts

It looks like confusion exists within the judiciary itself about ways of dealing with errant judges. Two different RTI queries have yielded contradictory answers from former Chief Justice of India YK Sabharwal and the Department of Justice on the procedure to deal with complaints received by Chief Justices of the Supreme Court and high courts against judges of higher courts.

In October 2011, RTI activist Subhas Chandra Agrawal filed a query with the Department of Justice, seeking information on commissions constituted to probe tainted judges PD Dinakaran and Soumitra Sen. He also asked about the benefits allowed to judges who resign before enquiry or impeachment proceedings start; and powers of the chief justice of a high court and the Chief Justice of India to receive complaints against judges of superior courts and taking action against them.

In reply, the CPIO (chief public information officer) on 12th November provided a detailed response to his queries. He clearly mentioned the duties of the Chief Justice of India and that of a high court on receipt of a complaint against a judge belonging to a high court or Supreme Court—elaborately describing the procedure of filing complaints, setting up of probe committees and initiating action of removal of the said judge(s).

However, the information clearly contradicts a statement made by former Chief Justice YK Sabharwal, which was quoted in an RTI response from Supreme Court Registry dated 21st April 2006. Mr Agarwal had asked the same question, the reply to which quoted an order by the then chief justice that said, “Neither Supreme Court or Chief Justice of India is the appointing or disciplinary authority with respect to judges of superior courts, including judges of high courts.”

While the process of removal of judges of the Supreme Court and high court can be done only by the order of the president, complaints can be received by the chief justice of a high court and the Chief Justice of India regarding errant judges, and if the complaint is against the chief justice of a high court, it can be received by the president or the Chief Justice of Supreme Court, who may initiate probe and set up enquiry commissions against the judge.

However, the removal procedure is very complex, and till date only two judges—Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court and V Ramaswamy of the Madras High Court has faced impeachment proceedings in Parliament. Only the former was removed successfully.

According to our Constitution, the Chief Justice of India is consulted by the president regarding appointment of judges of high courts, and the chief justice of a high court is also consulted for appointment of other judges of a high court. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is also consulted regarding transfer of judges of a high court.

YK Sabharwal has been a controversial figure, and there are many allegations against him about misusing his authority in order to favour his sons who are in real estate business. Referring to his statement, Mr Agrawal said, “Since two responses from Department of Justice and Supreme Court seem to contradict each other, I appeal that CPIO at Department of Justice may kindly be directed to reveal an exact position about competence of Chief Justices of Supreme Court and high courts in regard of handling complaints against judges of superior courts.”

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COMMENTS

Dr V P Sharma

5 years ago

The fight should be taken further, more so because of corrosion of morality, ethics and principles in the judicial system, rather whole of society/country. Accountability is the essence of any Democracy and crying from rooftops that we are the biggest democracy doesn't mean that we are the true democracy. The demon of corruption and CHALTA HAI attitude has reached its zenith and has to be curbed. We are a democracy where people who are mediocre rule the country. The intelligentsia is so demoralized that they don't even bother to cast their vote.

P M Ravindran

5 years ago

If the judiciary has given the impression that there is confusion in the matter of dealing with complaints against judges let me assure you it is a put on! And why? Just to convey that there are some means to do that while the truth is that there is nothing other than the preposterous impeachment process. The National Commission to review the working of the Constitution, which submitted its report in 2002, had only suggested the following: setting up a National Judicial Commission 'for making recommendation as to the appointment of a Judge of the Supreme Court (other than the Chief Justice of India), a Chief Justice of a High Court and a Judge of any High Court.' and Recommendation 123 of this Commssion reads as follows:

7.3.8 A committee comprising the Chief Justice of India and two senior-most Judges of the Supreme Court shall be exclusively empowered to examine complaints of deviant behaviour of all kinds and complaints of misbehaviour and incapacity against judges of The Supreme Court and the High Courts. Their scrutiny at this stage would be confined to ascertain whether –

(a) there is substance at all in the complaint; or

(b) there is a prima facie case calling for a fuller investigation and enquiry; or

(c) whether it would be sufficient to administer an appropriate advice/warning to the erring Judge or give other directions to the concerned Chief Justice regarding allotment of work to such Judge or to transfer him to some other court.

If, however, the committee finds that the matter is serious enough to call for a fuller investigation or inquiry, it shall refer the matter for a full inquiry to the committee [constituted under the Judges’ (Inquiry) Act, 1968]. The committee under the Judges Inquiry Act shall be a permanent committee with a fixed tenure with composition indicated in the said Act and not one constituted ad-hoc for a particular case or from case to case, as is the present position under Section 3(2) of the Act. The tenure of the inquiry committee shall be for a period of four years and to be re-constituted every four years. The inquiry committee shall be constituted by the President in consultation with the Chief Justice of India. The membership of the inquiry committee shall not be full time salaried employment. But the terms and other conditions of service of the Members of the committee shall be such as may be specified in the notification constituting the inquiry committee. The inquiry committee shall inquire into and report on the allegation against the Judge in accordance with the procedure prescribed by the said Act, i.e. in accordance with the sub-sections (3) to (8) of Section 3 and sub-section (1) of Section 4 of the said Act and submit their report to the Chief Justice of India, who shall place before a committee of seven senior-most judges of the Supreme Court. The Committee of seven Judges shall take a decision as to - whether (a) findings of the inquiry committee are proper and (b) any charge or charges are established against the judge and if so, whether the charges held proved are so serious as to call for his removal (i.e. proved misbehaviour) or whether it should be sufficient to administer a warning to him and/or make other directions with respect to allotment of work to him by the concerned Chief Justice or to transfer him to some other court (i.e. deviant behaviour not amounting to misbehaviour). If the decision of the said committee of judges recommends the removal of the Judge, it shall be a convention that the judge promptly demits office himself. If he fails to do so, the matter will be processed for being placed before Parliament in accordance with articles 124(4) and 217(1) Proviso (b). This procedure shall equally apply in case of Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts except that in the case of a Supreme Court Judge the judge against whom complaint is received or inquiry is ordered, shall not participate in any proceeding affecting him.

Sweena Jain

5 years ago

Judiciary is not only confused but is also biased which can be seen from today's news about Sukhram 1993 scam.As Mr.Sukhram was then a minister has been held guilty in scam committed in 1993.He played all tricks initially and was granted interim bail till today i.e 16/01/2012 by Supreme Court.And today extended bail till August 2012.Now everybody doubts whether Mr.Sukhram will ever go to jail at all.Then why waste public money and time in such cases.The ministers and MP's should given immunity for all their acts whether in public interest or against public. And our judiciary is famed for delay which leads to corruption.GOD same Indians.

REPLY

Dr V P Sharma

In Reply to Sweena Jain 5 years ago

Bang on the point Sweena.

Dr Vaibhav Dhoka

5 years ago

Judiciary has miserably failed to reign in errant and corrupt judges.The reason is India inherited British laws blindly which were dictatorial as they wanted tame Indian and to rule.The handful Britishers ruled for about 1 1/2 century.And their laws were colonial,and what we needed was PANCH system that is settlement of disputes at local level.The British laws have procedural chain which laid to DELAY in JUSTICE.The second most important is SECRECY and JUDICIARY embedded the fear of CONTEMPT in mind of common man who dare not the speak and complaint against an errant JUDGE.And with failure of superior courts in its supervisory jurisdiction the corruption became routine action.Because the investigation in corruption complaint is totally different in justice system as against bureaucracy and other departments.It has failed in all aspect in public eye and due this failure the crime has increased manifold as there is no fear of Law in common MAN. Muscle power took over long back and its due to judicial failure.This is due to errant judges have failed exercise due diligence to be RESPECTED.

REPLY

Dr V P Sharma

In Reply to Dr Vaibhav Dhoka 5 years ago

We cannot fault the British laws. Our laws are exhaustive enough to deliver justice. Its not a system failure but failure on the part of people behind the system.

Dip ahead: Wednesday Closing Report

Nifty may give back some of the gains tomorrow

The market was range-bound for the entire trading session as nervousness ahead of the earnings season made investors jittery. We may see the Nifty making a struggled upmove to the level of 4,910 after which it may reach the level of 4,950. However, the benchmark should maintain itself above 4,842, today’s low to sustain the gains. Today’s marginal gain was on a large volume of 79.60 crore shares on the National Stock Exchange (NSE). Huge volume without advance is a sign of tiredness, even if temporary.

The market opened higher on continuing optimism on the domestic front. Global ratings agency Moody’s yesterday upgraded its rating of the country's short-term foreign currency bank deposits to investment grade and the government notified 100% foreign direct investment (FDI) in single-brand retail. The uptick in the Asian bourses in morning trade also supported gains in the domestic market. The Nifty opened at 4,863, up 13 points over its previous close and the Sensex added 57 points to resume trade at 16,222. Consumer durables, banking, auto and metals sectors supported initial gains.

Profit-booking in realty, metal, IT and capital goods stocks, ahead of the quarterly earnings season, which officially kicks off on Thursday with IT bellwether Infosys announcing its numbers in the morning led the market lower. The benchmarks were range-bound in subsequent trade.

Lacklustre opening of the European markets added to the sluggishness in the indices in the second half of trade. However, the broader indices outperformed the benchmarks as the FDI notification in singe-brand retail was welcomed by retail stocks.

The Nifty traded in the range of 35 points (4,842-4,877) and the Sensex swung between 16,128 and 16,245 (117 points) during trade today. At the close, the Nifty and the Sensex rose 11 points each to settle at 4,861 and 16,176, respectively.

The advance-decline ratio on the NSE was 1266:576.

The broader indices outperformed the Sensex today, as the BSE Mid-cap index climbed 1% and the BSE Small-cap index surged 1.32%.

BSE Realty (up 4.64%); BSE Metal (up 2.26%); BSE Bankex (up 1.12%); BSE Oil & gas (up 1.02%) and Capital Goods (up 0.74%) were the top gainers in the sectoral space. The laggards were BSE IT (down 1.42%); BSE TECk (down 1.21%) and BSE Fast Moving Consumer Goods (down 0.68%).

The top Sensex gainers were Hindalco Industries (up 5.69%); Sterlite Industries (up 4.85%); DLF (up 3.41%); Tata Steel (up 2.88%) and Hero MotoCorp (up 1.97%). The losers were led by TCS (down 2.54%); Jindal Steel (down 2.16%); Mahindra & Mahindra (down 1.60%); Bharti Airtel (down 1.54%) and Cipla (down 1.53%).

The key advancing stocks on the Nifty were Hindalco Ind (up 5.85%); Sesa Goa (up 5.64%); Axis Bank (up 5.45%); BPCL (up 5.24%) and Sterlite Ind (up 4.90%). Grasim (down 2.63%); TCS (down 2.56%); Jindal Steel (down 2.49%); Power Grid Corporation (up 2.39%) and M&M (down 1.72%) settled at the bottom of the index.

Markets in Asia closed mostly in the green on positive economic news from the US. However, European concerns ahead of Spanish and Italian bond auctions later this week capped the gains. Stocks in China fell a day ahead of the release of inflation data for December.

The Hang Seng gained 0.78%; the KLSE Composite added 0.02%; the Nikkei 225 rose 0.26%; the Straits Times climbed 1%; and the Taiwan Weighted closed 0.13% higher. Among the losers, the Shanghai Composite fell 0.42%; the Jakarta Composite declined 0.74% and the Seoul Composite dropped 0.41%. At the time of writing, the main European markets were mixed and the US stocks futures were trading in the positive.

Back home, foreign institutional investors were net buyers of stocks totalling Rs324.32 crore on Tuesday while domestic institutional investors were net sellers of equities amounting to Rs115.11 crore.

Escorts, a maker of critical railway components, has inked a licencing and technology pact with a US-based Honeywell for technical assistance on railway brake systems. The technical tie-up will help the Indian major offer brake blocks and disc brake pads suited for high-speed trains in India as well as select export markets. The stock jumped 4.04% to close at Rs73.40 on the NSE.

Sasken Communication Technologies, a leading embedded communications solutions company is working towards expanding its scope of work into newer industries such as automotive, retail, security and healthcare. The stock rose 1.95% to close at Rs107 on the NSE.

In a fresh trouble for Lavasa Corporation, part of Hindustan Construction Company (HCC), two members of tribal community from Mulshi tehsil of Pune have approached the Bombay High Court, challenging the notification which empowered the Corporation to acquire land and act as a Special Planning Authority. Despite the setback, HCC jumped 5.05% to close at Rs19.75 on NSE.

RPG Life Sciences informed the BSE that the ministry of social and family affairs, health and consumer protection, Hamburg, Germany did not grant EU GMP for the company’s API facility at Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra, post their inspection citing certain deficiencies. The company said that this move will have adverse impact on its export business. The stock fell 0.44% to close at Rs68.60 on the NSE.

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CBI files charge-sheet against former ITAT member

The agency alleged that Jugal Kishore, a former ITAT member, demanded bribe of Rs30 lakh from the accounting firm for the undue favours extended to them in Income Tax matters of various parties before the tribunal

New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a charge-sheet before a Kolkata special court against a former member of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) for allegedly colluding with the owners of an accounting firm to deliver favourable orders to its client in lieu of illegal gratification, reports PTI.

The agency filed its charge-sheet against the then ITAT accountant member Jugal Kishore and five other persons including the owner of accounting firm SK Tulsiyan & Company SK Tulsiyan, Shashi Tulsiyan, Ravi Tulsiyan besides middle men Subhash Chand Barjatiya and Nishant Jain.

The agency alleged that Mr Kishore demanded bribe of Rs30 lakh from the accounting firm for the undue favours extended to them in Income Tax (I-T) matters of various parties before the tribunal.

“The Tulsiyans were acting as a tout to Jugal Kishore and were the middlemen and prepared orders on behalf of the members of ITAT, Kolkata and manipulated orders,” a CBI spokesperson said here today.

The agency had registered the case against Mr Kishore and five others on 13 May 2008. Mr Kishore was allegedly caught red-handed while accepting the bribe during a trap laid down by the agency.

“Nishant Jain and Subhas Chand Barjatiya, who had come out from the residential premises of Jugal Kishore after handing over the bribe amount to Mr Kishore on behalf of the Tulsiyans, were apprehended by a team of CBI officials during the trap laid down by the agency,” the official said.

The CBI which was awaiting sanction of prosecution against Mr Kishore received it on 5th January and filed the charge-sheet yesterday.

The spokesperson said during the searches conducted at Mr Kishore's residence Rs28 lakh of alleged bribe money was recovered while the remaining Rs2 lakh was found in a brief case with Mr Jain and Mr Barjatiya.

“Subsequently during investigation Ravi Tulsiyan, Sajjan Kumar Tulsiyan and Shashi Tulsiyan were also arrested in this case for their active participation in the commission of the offence,” the spokesperson said.

Later during the searches at the offices of the accounting firm, CBI claimed that it had recovered nearly 14 computer discs carrying over 70 pre-dated judgements which were delivered in various benches of the tribunal, sources said.

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