On the orders of Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi, Justice Rakesh Kumar resumes work from Monday.
New Delhi: Justice Rakesh Kumar of the Patna High Court, who was barred from hearing any case after he ordered a CBI probe into alleged corruption in the state’s lower judiciary, has been reassigned duties on the orders of Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi.
A notice issued Sunday, 1 September, stated that Justice Rakesh Kumar will resume his judicial work from Court No. 13 on 2 September and be part of a division bench alongside Justice Anjani Kumar Sharan to hear matters related to anganwadis and taxation.
On 29 August, a full bench of 11 judges in the Patna HC had issued a notice debarring Justice Kumar from adjudicating on cases, a day after he ordered the CBI probe and, in a scathing judgment, also held that corruption in the high court was “an open secret”.
The full bench had also ordered the registrar to explain why the specific case was listed before the judge.
“All the matters pending before Hon’ble Justice Rakesh Kumar, sitting singly including tied-up/part-heard or otherwise stands withdrawn from immediate effect,” the 29 August notice said.
The notice was issued moments after Justice Kumar delivered the order while hearing the multi-crore Mahadalit Vikas Mission scam, in which three IAS officers — K.P. Ramaiya, Ramashish Paswan and S.M. Raju — have been chargesheeted by the state vigilance department.
It is important to note that the order of the full bench, which stayed the implementation of Justice Kumar’s order, still continues to be in effect. So even though Justice Kumar would resume his judicial work, his order for a CBI probe into the corruption charges would not be implemented.
Justice Kumar had said in the order that “to save the respect of judiciary”, the court must hold those guilty of corruption accountable, otherwise, “the faith of entire society will be finished in the judicial system”.
Delivering his 20-page judgment, Justice Kumar expressed shock at the failure of the high court to take action against judges and employees of the Patna lower court allegedly shown taking bribes in a sting operation conducted by a TV channel.
“The judiciary that is otherwise known to be firm and ruthless in dealing with corruption in other organs of the state, has left the billion-plus people of India in a state of disbelief and shock through its silence on the sting in Patna district court,” the 28 August verdict stated.
The judge then targeted the “irregular method of granting bail” to the accused in the case.
“The manner, in which, an accused is granted bail, raises the finger against the judiciary, certainly exercising supervisory power,” Justice Kumar said. “This court is entitled to examine as to whether the power for grant of bail was exercised judiciously. This is an open case of siphoning off of huge public amount meant for the upliftment of members of suppressed society.”
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