The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the interim orders of Karnataka High Court judge, Justice D V Shylendra Kumar, questioning the administrative decisions of Chief Justice P D Dinakaran, who is facing corruption and land grab charges.
"Under the facts and circumstances of the case, we feel it fit to stay the interim orders passed by the division bench (headed by Shylendra Kumar)," a vacation bench comprising Justices Deepak Verma and K S Radhakrishnan said.
The apex court said that the directions passed by the bench headed by Justice Shylendra Kumar was in complete defiance of the guidelines laid down by it.
It said that though the Chief Justice is not taking judicial matters but for all other practical purposes, he is the Chief Justice and this is his exclusive prerogative to take administrative decisions including the composition of benches, rosters and allocation of work to the puisne judges.
It said since the matter pertains to judicial discipline, it was referring it to the Chief Justice of India. The bench asked the apex court registry to convey its order to the registrar of the Karnataka High Court through telephone and fax.
The apex court was hearing a petition filed by the Karnataka High Court in which it had complained that Justice Kumar has allegedly "berated" Justice Dinakaran by using "intemperate" language.
Justice Dinakaran, whose transfer to another high court has been recommended by the Supreme Court collegium in the wake of corruption and land grab charges against him, has been a target of Justice Kumar ever since, according to legal sources.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, while staying the orders, said it will not preclude the high court division bench 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," Justices Verma and Radhakrishnan said.
The apex court said that while hearing the tax and custom matter, the bench headed by Justice Kumar 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. The court also issued notice to the concerned parties and posted the matter for further hearing in July.
The high court, in its petition, alleged that the bench headed by Justice Kumar was using "intemperate" language against Justice Dinakaran for publicity and even "orally threatened to initiate contempt proceedings" against the Registry if it would not comply with it orders.
The bench had questioned the decision of the Chief Justice to not list the tax matter on a particular date before the circuit bench at Dharwar where Justice Kumar was presiding it. The Chief Justice had taken a decision that the matter would be heard later when the matter returns to the Principal Bench.
In the petition, the High Court had said, "the division bench has thereafter been summoning records, orders and notifications issued by the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court with a view to sit in appeal over the same".
"That apart, they have been berating the Chief Justice in the open court in intemperate language with a view to ensure that the same is printed in the news media," it had said. PTI