Who should investigate the multi-crore rupees Ghaziabad provident fund scam, allegedly involving 36 judges — the local police or the CBI?
Even before the Supreme Court could decide this contentious issue raised in two petitions filed by the Ghaziabad Bar Association and the Indian Chapter of Transparency International, yet another petition has been filed on the issue.
In his petition filed on Wednesday, advocate Tripurari Ray said the case against sitting judges of the Supreme Court or a High Court could be investigated only in accordance with the mechanism provided under Articles 124 and 218 of the Constitution and the Judges Inquiry Act, 1968 that ruled out any role of the local police or the CBI.
Clauses 4 and 5 of Article 124 prescribe procedure for impeachment of a judge of the Supreme Court and Article 218 makes it applicable to high court judges as well.
Ray mentioned his petition before a bench headed by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, which said it would come up for hearing before Justice Pasayat's bench along with the other related petitions next week.
The CJI had constituted a new bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat to hear the case after Justice B.N. Agrawal recused himself following an unprecedented spat with former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan last month.
"A police investigation against a sitting judge of the higher judiciary will destroy the delicate checks and balances enshrined in the Constitution…and will result into the breaking down of the entire constitutional system," Ray said in his petition.
"Misconduct of a judge may be criminal but even to reach such a conclusion, it has to be investigated in accordance with the Constitution. A judge should be first proceeded against under clauses 4 and 5 of Article 124 and thereafter tried according to the Code of Criminal Procedure. A reverse application of the said sequence would amount to rewriting the Constitution," Ray said.
The scam came to light after Ghaziabad District Courts Vigilance Officer Rama Jain reported huge withdrawal of provident fund advances in the names of fictitious employees.