All judicial work was withdrawn from Patna High Court judge Justice Rakesh Kumar after he ordered a CBI inquiry on Wednesday into corruption in the lower judiciary.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, 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: