A Judge's exit

Published : Apr 11, 2003 00:00 IST

ARUN MADAN, a Judge of the Rajasthan High Court, submitted his resignation to President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on March 21 following his indictment by a three-member in-house inquiry committee headed by the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice B.K. Roy.

The committee, set up by G.B. Pattanaik, the then Chief Justice of India (CJI), submitted its report to V.N. Khare, the present CJI. Earlier, on December 14, 2002, the committee had confirmed the "involvement" of Justice Madan in proposing a woman doctor to go to bed with him in exchange for a judicial favour. The committee, in its report to Justice Pattanaik before his retirement on December 19, indicted Justice Madan on a complaint made by a woman from Jodhpur. However, Justice Pattanaik refrained from taking any action against Justice Madan since the committee had mentioned also allegations of corruption against the Judge.

The CJI said he was against taking "piecemeal action" against the guilty Judge and ordered a further inquiry by the same committee into the corruption charges. The committee's latest report apparently concluded that there is sufficient substance in the allegations against Justice Madan and that his misconduct is so serious that it called for initiation of proceedings for his removal.

Under the in-house procedure, the CJI shall advise the Judge concerned to resign or seek voluntary retirement. In case the Judge refuses to do so, the CJI shall advise the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned not to allocate any judicial work to him, and intimate the President and the Prime Minister.

The Justice B.K. Roy committee report is the third of its kind under the in-house procedure adopted by the higher judiciary for dealing with complaints against Judges, and for taking suitable remedial action within the institution. With this, all the three committees set up by Justice Pattanaik last year have completed their work.

While in the case of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Judges, the CJI did not consider it necessary to take disciplinary action against the Judges after considering the report, the committee on the Karnataka Judges has exonerated them.

Observers say that citizens have a fundamental right - in line with the recent Supreme Court judgment - to know the contents of these committees' reports, which are now treated as confidential.

V. Venkatesan
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