SC stays orders of blogger judge on Dinakaran

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 17 2010, 01:42am hrs
The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the interim orders passed by Karnataka High Court judge, Justice DV Shylendra Kumar, wherein he has questioned the administrative decisions of Chief Justice PD Dinakaran.

The Chief Justice is facing impeachment motion following serious charges of corruption against him.

Though Justice Dinakaran is not performing his judicial functions since December last year, he is discharging his functions on the administrative side.

Observing that orders passed by the Bench headed by Justice Kumar were in complete defiance of the guidelines laid down by the court, the vacation bench comprising Justices Deepak Verma and KS Radhakrishnan said, Under the facts and circumstances of the case, we deem it fit to stay the interim orders passed by the division bench (headed by Justice Shylendra Kumar).

The Bench strongly felt that Justice Kumar had overstepped his limits and since the matter pertained to judicial indiscipline, it referred the matter to Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia. The Bench also remarked that although the Chief Justice is not taking judicial matters but for all other practical purposes, he is still the CJ and it is his exclusive prerogative to take administrative decisions, including the composition of Benches, rosters and allocation of work to the puisne judges. The remark was clearly meant for Justice Kumar, who, ever since the controversy over the CJ broke out, has been openly advocating for this step down and not letting him perform his duties even on the administrative side.

The apex court, while staying the orders, said it will not preclude the high court from hearing the matters on merit. In fact, we are of concerned opinion that it would be inappropriate for any Bench that any judicial matter be discussed in extra judicial manner, the Bench said.

The interim order came on a petition filed by the Karnataka HC complaining that Justice Kumar has allegedly berated the Chief Justice by using intemperate language. The petition has also sought quashing of some orders passed by a bench led by Justice Kumar, who had in the past attacked Justice Dinakaran in his blogs.

In the petition filed by the high court, it has been alleged that while hearing a tax/customs matter, a Division Bench of Justices Kumar and N Ananda questioned the administrative decisions taken by Justice Dinakaran and sought information from the Registrar General about the roster of the judges and allocation of work to judges of the principal and circuit Benches.

The apex court said the Bench while hearing the tax and custom matter, had not adhered to the guidelines laid down by it as to how the puisne judges are required to conduct themselves while dealing with judicial matters.