Sitting judge on Bastar killings probe panel comes under attack

Civil society in Chhattisgarh has frowned upon the state government’s decision to appoint a sitting judge to head the commission to probe the rebel attack on the Congress convoy because it is reportedly inconsistent with a Supreme Court order.

In November 2006, the Supreme Court asked the states not to set up any inquiry commission headed by a sitting high court judge because judicial work suffered. The court then scrapped all such commissions.

Following the attack in Bastar district on May 25, the Chhattisgarh government appointed the commission, headed by justice Prashant Mishra, a judge of the Chhattisgarh high court.

“The decision of the state government is appreciated but it should heed what the SC has said,” said Pravin Patel, director of Tribal Welfare Society. The society had submitted an affidavit before the commission inquiring the Kalinga Nagar incident of police firing on farmers in Odisha in 2006.

Following the Supreme Court order, the commission was wound up in May 2007 because a sitting judge headed it. “I had to re-appear before another commission headed by a retired judge,” he said.

A state government spokesperson told HT, given the importance of the present case, it was decided that a sitting judge would head the probe.


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