Patna High Court stays order of a CBI inquiry into corruption in subordinate judiciary

All judicial work has been withdrawn from a judge of the Patna High Court, Justice Rakesh Kumar, who recorded that corruption in the judiciary was an ‘open fact’ and ordered a CBI inquiry

Patna High Court (Photo: social media)
Patna High Court (Photo: social media)

NH Web Desk

All judicial work was withdrawn from Patna High Court judge Justice Rakesh Kumar after he ordered a CBI inquiry on Wednesday into corruption in the lower judiciary. The Chief Justice of Patna High Court also ordered an inquiry into the circumstances under which the case in question was listed in the court of Justice Kumar.

The order of inquiry was also stayed on Thursday by a Bench headed by the Chief Justice.

Justice Rakesh Kumar (Photo courtesy: social media)
Justice Rakesh Kumar (Photo courtesy: social media)
Patna High Court stays order of a CBI inquiry into corruption in subordinate judiciary

Justice Rakesh Kumar, the second senior most judge in the Patna High Court, was CBI counsel in the fodder scam and was elevated as an Additional Judge in 2009. He is due to retire in December next year.

In his order Justice Rakesh Kumar questioned the manner in which a former IAS officer KP Ramaiah secured anticipatory bail in a corruption case after the high court had rejected it. The bail was obtained from a judge in the district court who was officiating in the absence of the regular judge who was away on leave.

In the order, the judge lamented that corruption in the judiciary had become an open secret and that the High Court had failed to address the issue in earnest.

He provided examples of how the High Court had been lenient to subordinate judges charged with corruption. Subordinate judges against whom dozens of corruption charges were levelled, he recorded, were let off with minor punishment like withholding an increment.

The judge referred to a sting operation conducted in 2017 on ‘Cash for Justice’ in the Patna District Court by a TV channel. While the High Court should have lodged an FIR and ordered an inquiry, he lamented, nothing was done.

The judge also recorded instances of corruption associated with appointment of judges and refurbishing judges’ bungalows at huge cost by the public exchequer.

These are some of the other observations recorded by Justice Rakesh Kumar:

  • I am of the opinion that only to save the respect of judiciary, we must not put curtain to those corruptions, otherwise faith of entire society will be finished in the judicial system.
  • I have gone through a number of records of Criminal Appeals (Division Bench), in which, judgements were reserved sometime in the year 2017 and in some cases, judgements were reserved in the year 2018 by a Division Bench of Patna High Court presided by a senior Judge of the Patna High Court, who was subsequently transferred outside Patna High Court. Despite reserving the judgment, without delivering the judgment, he left Patna High Court.
  • It is also an open fact that wards of Judges are practising in Patna High Court. Ward of one Judge, even during short period of his profession, has taken classes in Bihar Judicial Academy and got honorarium.
  • There are instances of protecting corrupt judicial officers. At least in one case, relating to one Additional Sessions Judge namely Sri K. P. Singh, who was posted at Patna, against whom, there were serious allegations and indictment against him in judicial side. In the same matter, he was proceeded departmentally. One of the High Court Judge was Inquiry Officer. During inquiry, out of two serious charges, one charge was proved and show cause notice was issued on the point of quantum of punishment. After filing reply of the second show cause, while matter was placed before the Standing Committee for taking decision on the point of punishment for serious charge, one of the senior Members of the Standing Committee stood as a “Rock” to protect him, however; the said Agenda was deferred and on the next meeting, due to some urgent work, I was out of station and in my absence, the Standing Committee took a decision to impose a minor punishment i.e. “stoppage of one increment with cumulative effect”.

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Published: 29 Aug 2019, 7:00 PM