Judges should not use protocol facilities in a manner that results in inconvenience to others or brings public criticism of the judiciary, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said on Thursday, reported PTI.
Chandrachud made the comments after a Allahabad High Court judge, Justice Gautam Chowdhary, sought explanation from the railway authorities for not meeting his requirements during a train journey on July 8 and causing his “inconvenience”, reported Live Law.
On July 14, the registrar of the High Court had written to the general manager of the North Central Railway saying that judge’s train from Delhi to Prayagraj on July 8 was late by more than three hours and despite repeated intimation to the travel ticket examines, no Government Railway Police officials were found in the coach to “meet the requirements as desired by His Lordship”.
“Further, no pantry car workers attended His Lordship for providing refreshments despite repeated calls,” the letter said. “Moreover, when the call was made to the pantry car manager Mr Raj Tripathi, the call was not picked up.”
It added that the judge has sought explanation from the erring officials of the Railways, the Government Railway Police officials and the pantry car manager for “the inconvenience caused to His Lordship due to their conduct and dereliction of duty”.
On Thursday, Chandrachud took note of the letter and said that a High Court judge does not have disciplinary jurisdiction over the Railways to seek an explanation to be placed before him for his perusal.
He wrote to chief justices of all the High Courts saying that the incident has given rise to “justifiable disquiet both within and outside the judiciary”. He asked judges to ensure that the protocol facilities that they get due to their position is not seen as a “manifestation of power and authority”.
“A wise exercise of judicial authority both on and off the bench is what sustains the credibility and legitimacy of the judiciary and the confidence which society has in judges,” Chandrachud said.