The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed Karnataka High Court judge, Justice DV Shylendra Kumar, for questioning present Chief Justice PD Dinakaran's administrative powers.
The vacation bench was critical of Justice Kumar and said his actions were in complete defiance of SC guidelines. It said since the matter pertains to judicial discipline, it was referring it to the Chief Justice of India.
The apex court was hearing a petition filed by the Karnataka High Court in which it had complained that Justice Kumar has allegedly "berated" Justice Dinakaran by using "intemperate" language for publicity.
The petition had also sought quashing of some orders passed by a bench led by Justice Kumar.
The HC plea alleged that while hearing a tax matter Justice Kumar's bench had questioned the administrative decisions taken by Justice Dinakaran and sought information from the registrar-general about the roster of the judges and allocation of work to judges.
The Supreme Court stayed Justice Kumar's order to the HC registrar-general. It asked the SC registry to convey its order to the Karnataka HC registrar through telephone or fax.
However, it did not prevent Justice Kumar's bench from hearing the tax matter based on merit.
"In fact, we are of concerned opinion that it would be inappropriate for any bench that any judicial matter be discussed in extra-judicial manner," the Supreme Court said.
Taking strong exception to Justice Kumar's comments on Justice Dinakaran's powers, the SC said even if the Chief Justice was not taking up judicial matters, "for all other practical purposes" he was heading the High Court.
"This is his exclusive prerogative to take administrative decisions including composition of benches and allocation of work to the judges," the bench said.
Justice Kumar has criticised Justice Dinakaran, whose transfer to another HC has been recommended by the Supreme Court collegium in the wake of corruption and land grab charges against him, in his blog.