The Uttarakhand High Court on Tuesday suspended Dehradun District Judge Prashant Joshi after he allegedly used a private Audi car, owned by a man who is facing charges of forgery, to travel to Mussoorie, reported ANI. Joshi was travelling to attend a camp court on December 21 and December 22.

The charges against Joshi stated that instead of using official vehicle to attend the camp court, the judge travelled in a car owned by a man identified as Kewal Krishan Soin. It said that Joshi even attached the official board of “District Judge, Dehradun” on the vehicle, which may be intended to protect the owner and the occupants of the car from “nefarious activities”.

The High Court noted that a first information report was registered against the owner of the car under Sections 420 (forgery), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged [document or electronic record]) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code at the Rajpur police station in Dehradun. Besides, a writ petition filed by Soin seeking to quash the FIR against him was also pending in the High Court.

The order said that Joshi’s “act and conduct touches upon his integrity, amounts to grave misconduct” along with violation of many rules of the Uttarakhand Government Servants’ Conduct Rules, 2002. “Prashant Joshi, District Judge, Dehradun, against whom a disciplinary proceeding is contemplated, with regard to following charges, is put under suspension with immediate effect,” it added. “The said conduct is unbecoming of a judicial officer.”

The High Court said that during the period of his suspension, Joshi will get half of his salary payable on the date of suspension as subsistence allowances, along with dearness allowance. “Other compensatory allowances shall be admissible subject to the condition that expense is being actually incurred by him, for which, such compensatory allowances are admissible,” the court added.

During the suspension period and until further orders, Joshi will also remain attached with the district judgeship’s headquarter in Rudraprayag town, and will not leave the station without obtaining the prior permission of the court, the order said.