The Supreme Court on Friday expunged certain adverse remarks made against former Haryana chief minister Om Prakash Chautala by a judge of Punjab and Haryana High Court, observing that courts were not expected to give any kind of prejudicial remarks against a person, especially so, when he was not a party before it.
A bench of justices Anil R Dave and Dipak Misra said, "When a court deals with a matter that has something likely to affect a person's reputation, the normative principles of law are to be cautiously and carefully adhered to."
They added, "The advertence has to be sans emotion and sans populist perception, and absolutely in accord with the doctrine of audi alteram partem before anything adverse is said."
The bench was hearing an appeal filed by Chautala seeking expunging of remarks made by the judge in a 2009 delivering a judgment on a petition in which he was not a party.
The single judge had made the adverse remarks while deciding a petition filed by Kanwar Bhan who was working as assistant registrar of cooperative societies in Haryana.
On February 4, 2001 during a state function, Chautala received a complaint about the working of Bhan. Chautala announced Bhan's suspension at a press conference the same day. His suspension was followed by him being chargesheeted in March 2002. He was however, reinstated pending inquiry after he moved court by way of a writ petition.
Bhan was superannuated in 2005 and was granted provisional pension, provident fund but other retirement benefits were withheld due to pendency of disciplinary proceedings.
In 2007, on Bhan's petition, high court asked government to complete the inquiry in six months. Since the same was not done, in 2009 a judge of the high court set aside the chargesheet filed against him with further directions to release all the pension and pensionary benefits due to him within a period of one month with 10% annual interest from the due date to the date of payment.
Chautala's plea against before the division bench was rejected following which he moved the Supreme Court.