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Sitting HC judges can?t head panels

The Supreme Court on Monday scrapped all Commissions of Inquiry headed by sitting judges of the High Courts and directed that no sitting judge of any High Court would be appointed to head an Inquiry Commission as it affected judicial work.

india Updated: Nov 28, 2006 16:15 IST

The Supreme Court on Monday scrapped all Commissions of Inquiry headed by sitting judges of the High Courts and directed that no sitting judge of any High Court would be appointed to head an Inquiry Commission as it affected judicial work.

The order came from a Bench of Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice S H Kapadia after Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramanian informed that none of the chief secretaries of the states has furnished date regarding the sitting High Court judges heading Commissions of Inquiry.

The Bench, however, clarified that the order would not be applicable to those Commissions of Inquiry whose work was at the fag end and only reports were to be prepared and submitted. It strongly disapproved of the tendency of the state governments to appoint sitting judges of the High Courts to head inquiry panels despite an earlier order of the apex court  against such appointments.

Earlier, the issue was raised by the ASG during the hearing of a PIL on ragging menace and the court had asked the Centre to seek information from the states and Union territories on the number of sitting judges heading Commissions of Inquiries. The court expressed its displeasure when the ASG said not even a single state or Union

territory has responded to the request to furnish details in this respect till date. The apex court observed that sitting High Court judges were supposed to hold judicial inquiries only in matters of national and public importance and it was not proper on the part of the state governments to frequently appoint them to head inquiries into trivial and local issues.
satya.prakash@hindustantimes.com