WHO WILL blink first, the Raj Bhawan or the High Court?
Both have come face to face following the Allahabad High Court order to place Governor TV Rajeswar’s additional legal advisor Pradeep Dubey under suspension for non-compliance of its order transferring Dubey as additional district judge. But Rajeswar insists that he is the final authority and has refused to recognise the suspension order of the HC. Dubey as a result continues to work at the Raj Bhawan.
The HC has, however, stuck to its point and has now ordered a probe against Dubey. Further action may be taken against him once the inquiry report was submitted to the court, said a senior judicial officer.
As per indications, there seems no early end to the face-off, with both sides reiterating their point again and again through letters being exchanged between them for some time now. The sitting judge of the Allahabad High Court who has been appointed as the inquiry officer may soon probe the charges against Dubey and the inquiry may be completed by next month. The State Government has already washed its hands off the issue to save its skin and has relieved Dubey in compliance of the HC order.
According to sources, as the governor is in no mood to relieve Dubey, Raj Bhawan conveyed his wishes to the HC. Rajeswar had initially indicated that he wanted to retain Dubey till Vidhan Sabha elections. On the other hand, the HC insisted that the normal tenure of any officer in Raj Bhawan should not exceed five years. As Dubey had already crossed the five-year limit, his continuation at the Raj Bhawan was against the existing policies, it observed.
Significantly, even if the governor later on agreed to take another judicial officer as his legal advisor, he said he would relieve Dubey after watching the performance of the new appointee for three months. The Raj Bhawan, therefore, requested the HC to send names of officers.
According to HC registrar general Swatantra Singh, the HC invited applications from the judicial officers to replace Dubey. In all 39 applications were received and the HC selected Vinay Verma for the job, said Singh. Thereafter, Verma’s name was forwarded to the Raj Bhawan. Soon Raj Bhawan reacted and said that the HC should send a panel of officers and not a single name.
Sources said the High Court in its letter to the Raj Bhawan quoted provisions of Article 235 of the Constitution to make the point that it had supreme control over the judicial officers. As per the provisions, “the control over district courts and the courts subordinate thereto, including the posting and promotion of and the grant of leave to, transfer of disciplinary control over including inquiries, suspension and punishment and compulsory retirement of persons belonging to judicial service and holding any post inferior to the post of district judge is vested in High Court.”
Sources said the Raj Bhawan has relied on Article 233 of the Constitution that provides that the HC should be consulted by the governor in the matter of appointing, posting and promoting district judges.
Raj Bhawan feels that the HC had only recommendatory powers in Dubey’s case. A Government Order of 1985 providing for Governor’s consent for transferring out officers of Raj Bhawan was also proving handy to the Raj Bhawan.