The Punjab and Haryana high court vigilance cell will investigate serious allegations of corruption against three local judicial officers.
On his visit to Bathinda on Friday, high court judge justice Ajay Tiwari received more than 10 written complaints against three senior judges that they had taken money on many occasions before passing judgments. "The complaints will be investigated thoroughly," said justice Tiwari.
The charges have stalled the proceedings at the Bathinda courts, as members of the district bar association are on strike for the past more than two weeks. On August 26, the lawyers had also met acting high court chief justice Shiavax Jal Vazifdar with a resolution against the three judges. It was the CJ who sent justice Tiwari to Bathinda to hear the grievances of the lawyers. Even the general public gave written representations and complaints regarding the corrupt practices of the three judicial officials.
In a three-hour session, justice Tiwari heard every complainant separately and in detail. "Most of the complaints are against the three judges against whom lawyers have levelled corruption charges, though I am yet to read all complaints in full," said the high court judge. Asked about any time-bound inquiry into the matter, he said the high court inquiries had a proper procedure that took time. "But if the allegations are found true, the action will be quick," said justice Tiwari, adding that "the high court has dismissed more than 20 judicial officers in the past five years in both Punjab and Haryana over similar charges".
Justice Tiwari regretted that the bar association had not provided him with any material before going on strike. "The moment they approached me, I am here, to assure them of justice," he said. "Any complaint against a judicial officer is serious. The officers are supposed to give judgments uninfluenced by anything expect the facts of the case. And every judgment against the facts is serious in nature," he further said.
Bas association president Navdeep Singh Sidhu said the lawyers would resume work in the courts of all judges except the three named in the complaint.