A senior judge of Patna High Court has been taken off all cases after he brought up corruption in the judicial system in his order on a corruption case, reported Bar and Bench. An 11-judge bench of the High Court also suspended Justice Rakesh Kumar’s order on the case on Thursday.
“All the matters pertaining to the judge, including tied up/part-heard or otherwise, stand withdrawn with immediate effect,” Chief Justice of Patna High Court Amreshwar Pratap Sahi said in an order on Wednesday. The order was made public on Thursday.
Suspending Justice Kumar’s order on the corruption case involving a retired Indian Administrative Service officer, the 11-judge bench said he had no jurisdiction to pass such an order on a case that had been closed.
Justice Kumar had asked how retired IAS officer KP Ramaiah was granted bail by a lower court when the Supreme Court as well as the High Court had rejected his plea for anticipatory bail because of the seriousness of the allegations. Ramaiah is accused of embezzling over Rs 5 crore during his tenure as the Bihar Mahadalit Vikas Mission chairperson, reported NDTV.
Ramaiah had surrendered in May, but was granted bail the same day by a vacation judge of the Vigilance Court. Justice Kumar also ordered an inquiry and sought a report within four weeks.
“Grant of bail or refusal of bail is at the complete discretion of the court, but if the manner in which an accused is granted bail raises finger against the judiciary, this Court is entitled to examine exercising its supervisory power as to whether it was done judiciously or due to some extraneous consideration,” the judge had said, according to the Hindustan Times.
Jusitce Kumar, in his order, also observed that it should be found out if the regular vigilance court was on leave due to a genuine reason or deliberately took leave the day Ramaiah was granted bail. He asked the Patna district court judge to inquire into the reason.
“The DJ [district judge] will also examine the record of cases disposed of by the same judge for last six months and examine whether the said in-charge judge had exercised his discretion in the same manner or not i.e. in a case, in which, there was serious accusation of siphoning off the huge public amount and even after rejection of anticipatory bail by higher court,” Justice Kumar said in his order.
He also cited sting operations and allegations of corruption in the judiciary. In his order, he said there were several instances of crores of public funds being spent on bungalows of judges, as well as nepotism. “There are also instances of protecting corrupt judicial officers,” he said.
Justice Kumar had said that copies of his order should be sent to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. But after the High Court chief justice’s order on Wednesday, even the copy of Justice Kumar’s verdict was withdrawn, according to NDTV.
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