The Supreme Court today sought responses from the Uttar Pradesh government and the CBI on a plea of the special judge, who convicted Rajesh Talwar and Nupur Tawar in the Aarushi murder case in 2013, against his criticism in the Allahabad High Court verdict. Special CBI judge Shyam Lal, now retired, alleged that the high court while acquitting the Talwars in the case on October 12, 2017, made “disparaging remarks” and “unwarranted comments” and sought their expunction.
A bench of justices Ranjan Gogoi and R Banumathi issued notice to the Uttar Pradesh government, the CBI and the Allahabad High Court and sought their response in four weeks. Senior advocate S R Singh, appearing for the retired judge, said that the strictures passed against him are ultimately going to affect his reputation as an impartial and transparent judge and should be expuncted.
Singh said that the remarks in the judgement were neither warranted nor were in conformity with the settled law of apex court. In his plea, Shyam Lal said that he is not aggrieved against the judgement of the acquittal of Talwars but he is aggrieved by the observations made by the a member judge of the division bench of the high court, in his separate concurring judgement dated October 12, 2017.
The high court judge in his separate but concurring judgement had said, “The trial judge has prejudged things in his own fashion, drawn conclusion by embarking on erroneous analogy conjecturing to the brim on apparent facts telling a different story propelled by vitriolic reasoning. “Thus, basing the finding of conviction without caring to see that it being a case based on circumstantial evidence things cannot be presumed and stuffed in a manner like the present one by adhering to self-created postulates then to roam inside the circle with all fanciful whim.”
The high court verdict further said that the trial judge took evidence and the circumstances of the case for granted and tried to solve it like a “mathematical puzzle when one solves a given question and then takes something for granted in order to solve that puzzle and question”. It also said the point is that “the trial judge cannot act like a maths teacher who is solving a mathematical question by analogy after taking certain figure for granted”.
“… Like a film director, the trial Judge has tried to thrust coherence among facts inalienably scattered here and there but not giving any coherence to the idea as to what in fact happened”, the verdict had said with various other comments. Lal, while posted as special CBI judge at Ghaziabad, had on November 25, 2013, convicted the Talwar couple for murder of their daughter Aarushi and had sentenced them for life sentence.
“While allowing criminal appeals (of Talwars) no adverse comments has been made against the petitioner (Shyam Lal) in the main judgement but the second judge in his concurring judgement has made certain adverse remarks which seriously affect the reputation of the petitioner as independent and impartial judge,” his plea said.
Lal claimed in his petition that during his 28 years of “unblemished service” before retiring on November 30, 2013, he dealt with high profile cases like that of Surendra Koli vs. State, properly known as ‘Nithari case’, graft case of former Uttar Pradesh chief secretary Neera Yadav, among others.