Patna HC judge, who hit out at corruption in judiciary, taken off all cases
A senior judge of Patna High Court has been taken off all cases he was hearing after he came down heavily on his colleagues in the judiciary in his order on a corruption case involving a retired IAS officer.
An 11-judge bench of the high court, headed by Chief Justice AP Shahi, also suspended Justice Rakesh Kumar’s order on the case on Thursday, saying the single judge bench had no jurisdiction to pass such an order on a case that had been closed. Advocate General Lalit Kishore said the bench also made strong observations after hearing several senior advocates.
“All the matters pertaining to the judge, including tied up/part-heard or otherwise, stand withdrawn with immediate effect. The registrar will implement the order forthwith subject to further orders with regard to the formation of the bench,” Patna high court chief justice said in an earlier order on Wednesday.
The order came in the public domain on Thursday.
“The registrar (list) will inform as to how and in what manner Cr. Misc. No. 4117 of 2018 that had been disposed of finally earlier was listed on Thursday at Sl. No. 1 under the heading ‘To be mentioned – Tied up’ before Justice Rakesh Kumar,” the order said.
“The concerned court master of the court concerned will submit his explanation to me as to under whose direction was the case listed in the cause list and as to whether any information was given to the registrar (list) or not,” it also said.
Justice Kumar, while hearing the bail plea of retired IAS officer KP Ramaiah, had questioned the manner in which he was granted by a lower court. The Indian Administrative Service officer has been accused of corruption during his tenure as the Bihar Mahadalit Vikas Mission chairperson.
The high court, as well as the Supreme Court, had rejected his request for protection from arrest because of the serious allegations against him, he said.
Ramaiah later had to surrender before the lower court and was granted bail the same day by the in-charge vigilance judge.
Justice Kumar also ordered an inquiry and sought a report within four weeks.
“Grant of bail or refusal of bail is at the complete discretion of the court, but if the manner in which an accused is granted bail raises finger against the judiciary, this Court is entitled to examine exercising its supervisory power as to whether it was done judiciously or due to some extraneous consideration,” the judge said.
Underlining the need for an inquiry by the Patna district judge (DJ), he observed it should be found out if the regular vigilance court was on leave due to a genuine cause or deliberately took leave the day Ramaiah was granted bail.
He had said the district judge will also inquire the reason behind the leave of the special judge (vigilance) on the day Ramaiah was going to surrender and request for grant of bail.
“The DJ will also examine the record of cases disposed of by the same judge for last six months and examine whether the said in-charge judge had exercised his discretion in the same manner or not i.e. in a case, in which, there was serious accusation of siphoning off the huge public amount and even after rejection of anticipatory bail by higher court,” Justice Kumar said in his order.
Citing previous sting operations and allegations of corruption in judiciary, Justice Kumar said in his order that there were instances of crores of the public fund being spent on bungalows of judges as well as nepotism.
“There are also instances of protecting corrupt judicial officers,” he said, directing that the copies of his order be sent to Chief Justice of India, Prime Minister and the Union law minister.