Police probe against judges may be referred to SC Constitution Bench

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New Delhi, Aug 1 (UNI) A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court today indicated that the issue of police investigation against sitting and retired judges, without the permission of either the Chief Justice of India or the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned, may be referred to a five-judge Constitution Bench of the apex court.

The indication came from a bench comprising Justices B N Agarwal, V S Sirpurkar and G S Singhvi during the hearing of two PILs seeking CBI investigations in the Ghaziabad District Court General Provident Fund(GPF) scam, worth about Rs 7 crore.

Senior Counsel Anil Diwan, appearing for Transparency International and Ghaziabad District Court Bar Association contended before the apex court that in order to protect the reputation and dignity of the Judiciary, a thorough and transparent investigation into the scam, involving the names of 36 judges, including one Supreme Court judge, 11 High Court judges and 24 District and Sessions judges, by an independent investigating agency like the CBI, is needed.

Justice Sirpurkar asked Mr Diwan to point out the shortcomings and defects in the investigation carried out by the Ghaziabad police.

Mr Diwan responded by saying that a local police officer cannot conduct free and fair investigation against the District judges and High Court judges, as he has to appear in their court almost in a routine manner.

Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan had earlier withdrawn from the hearing of the case, when his decision on the administrative side telling the SSP, Ghaziabad, to send a questionIaire to each of the judges so that each one of them might be asked to answer the questions and if their explanations were not found satisfactory, they could be subjected to personal interrogation also, was challenged.

The apex court adjourned the hearing till August 6.

According to the petitioner, the scandal was of Rs 23 crore and not of Rs 7 crore and Rs 4 crore were withdrawn fraudulently in 2007 alone when Mr Chaubey was the District and Sessions judge, Ghaziabad.

Judges have been named by the main accused Ashutosh Asthana, former Nazir of the Ghaziabad court in his statement recorded by special judge Rama Jain, under Section 164 CrPC.

Chargesheet against 75 out of 83 accused in the case have already being filed.

UNI SC SBC HT2018

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