Any investigation into allegations levelled against any judge should be confidential and discreet to ensure that the judiciary's image is not tarnished by motivated charges, Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia has told the government.
Justice Kapadia, who demits office as the head of the country's judiciary after a 28-month tenure on Friday, in a letter to law minister Salman Khurshid stated that it was important for the judiciary to conduct its own internal probe before any matter related to judges could be handed over to probe agencies.
The CJI's letter, written last month, came in response to a reference from the law ministry, which had sought his permission to allow the CBI to probe allegations of corruption against a serving high court judge.
"With reference to a note forwarded to my office...permission has been sought to entrust the matter to the CBI for enquiry/investigation into the allegations," the CJI wrote.
"In this regard...I had asked the Chief Justice of that HC to conduct a discreet inquiry. The opinion received is enclosed and is self-explanatory….In view of the above, approval, as sought, cannot be accorded," he wrote.
The note accompanying Kapadia's letter states that in case approval for a CBI probe is granted on the basis of wild allegations against the judge, "it would tarnish the image of judiciary and will have serious repercussion in the system".
The note also states that the conduct of judges cannot be ascertained merely on basis of allegations made against them.
"Unless something adverse is concretely found on the basis of an impartial probe, then only can any authority be expected to take some action," the note said.