New Delhi, Mar 11 (UNI) The Supreme Court today held that no High Court judge can entertain any petition, more so an anonymous petition addressed by name to a particular judge without bringing it to the notice of the Chief Justice of the concerned court.
A bench comprising Justices S H Kapadia and B Sudershan Reddy said as it is the prerogative of the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court to distribute business to both judicial and administrative as he is the 'master of the roster'.
The bench, in their judgement, noted, ''It is clear from the record that the learned judge was not dealing with any PIL cases as on the date of entertaining anonymous petition. It is beyond pale of any doubt and controversy that the administrative control of the High Court vests in the Chief Justice of the High Court alone and it is his prerogative to distribute business of the High Court both judicial and administrative; that the Chief Justice is the master of the roster.
''He alone has the prerogative to constitute benches of the High Court and allocate cases to the benches so constituted; and the puisne judges can only do that work as is alloted to them by the Chief Justice or under his directions; that the puisne judges cannot pick and chose any case pending in the High Court and assign the same to himself or themselves for disposal without appropriate order of the Chief Justice.'' The apex court set aside the directions of the single judge of Kerala High Court constituting Special Investigating Team (SIT) to go into the alligations against the head of Divine Retreat Centre, a deaddiction centre, of sexual exploitation, large number of deaths and FERA violations.
The directions were issued without giving any notice to the head of the centre of the basis of an anonymous letter that alleged that 974 unnatural deaths had taken place in the centre during 1991 till 2006.
Father Panackal, director of the centre, has denied the allegations and said all deaths were recorded in the records of Velur Panchayat.
People who are terminally ill and aged come to the centre and large number of deaths take place due to medical reasons while the centre tries its best to take care of them as nobody is prepared to look after these people.
Father Mathew Thadathil, who had been accused of fathering the child of one of the residents of the centre, was given a clean chit through medical tests when it was found that he was not the biological father of the child and had no illicit relations with the woman concerned.
The apex court, however, directed the investigating officer to place his report before the concerned judicial magistrate who will consider the report in accordence with law and pass appropriate orders.
The apex court made it clear that it has not expressed any opinion on the merits of the case.
The apex court also directed that the copy of this judgement be sent to all the HCs in the country for compliance.
UNI SC SHB ND1910