11-Judge HC bench suspends order of Judge who alleged Judicial corruption

On Thursday, an 11-judge bench of the Patna High Court suspended an order by fellow judge Justice Rakesh Kumar who, while ruling on an anticipatory bail matter, alleged corruption & nepotism in the judiciary.

Justice Kumar’s order, the bench said, is “to shake the confidence of the public in the judiciary & to lower its esteem to levels that may amount contemptuous”.

Ruling Wednesday on an anticipatory bail petition of a retired officer accused of siphoning government funds, Justice Kumar said he would not remain “a mute spectator” & wanted his order sent via registered post to the Supreme Court, Prime Minister’s Office & the Law Ministry.

Justice Kumar, 60, was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Patna High Court on December 25, 2009 & took oath as Permanent Judge on October 24, 2011. According to the High Court website, he had practised in the Patna High Court for about 26 years on the criminal & constitutional side & “defended the cases of CBI in the capacity of standing Counsel (CBI) for about 12 years”.

Taking note of Justice Kumar’s order Thursday & constituting a suo motu bench, the 11 judges, in their order, said: “The Court Master also stated that the Hon’ble Judge had summoned the file for perusal a couple of days ago & had studied the same. It is, therefore, evident that the preparation appears to have commenced a couple of days prior to the passing of the order.”

Corruption Here an Open Secret, Says this State High Court Judge, Chief Justice Withdraws All Work from Him

Chief Justice of High Court of Patna has withdrawn judicial work from the senior-most Judge in the HC after the latter delivered an order on how the judiciary in Bihar had plunged deep into corruption.

“Corruption in this HC is (an) open secret,” Justice Rakesh Kumar had held in his 20-page order delivered on Wednesday. Hours later, the chief justice withdrew all judicial work from him & asked him to wait in his chamber for allotment of work.

The Judge implored upon the Chief Justice of India & the Supreme Court Collegium to take cognisance of the corrupt practices plaguing the judicial system at all levels in Bihar.

The Judge recorded on Wednesday, “After my elevation as Judge, I started to notice that senior judges were buttering Chief Justice. Initially, I thought why such action was shown by the senior judges, but after some time, I could gather that such actions were being taken to get their favourite or caste man elevated as a judge or do some favour to corrupt judicial officers”.

Justice Kumar presented an illustration of four judicial officers who had allegations petitions ranging from 11 to 21 but, the Judge said, they were all let off with mild punishments & remained in judiciary although they should have been dismissed in the best interest of the system.

Patna HC dismisses bail pleas of senior IAS officer, 13 others

Patna HC dismisses bail pleas of senior IAS officer, 13 others
Patna HC dismisses bail pleas of senior IAS officer, 13 others

The Patna High Court today dismissed the bail applications of 14 persons, including senior IAS officer and former Bihar Staff Selection Commission (SSC) chairman Sudhir Kumar, who are in jail in connection with a paper leak scam that had surfaced in February.

A bench of Justice Prabhat Kumar Jha dismissed the bail pleas of the 14 accused, including Kumar, his sister-in-law Manju Kumari, a government school teacher — Atal Kumar Rai, a former data operator — Avinash Kumar — and the then IT manager with the Bihar SSC, Niti Ranjan Pratap.

The Bihar government had, on February 8, cancelled the BSSC examination, which was held on February 5 to fill up the clerical posts in the state administration, in the wake of reports of the paper leak before the examination.

The leaked question paper of the BSSC examination had reportedly become available online, before the commencement of the test.

On the basis of a preliminary report of Director General of Police (DGP) P K Thakur and recommendation of Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had ordered the cancellation of the exam.

Sudhir Kumar was arrested from Jharkhand on February 24 by a Special Investigation Team, formed to look into the scam and suspended by the state government a few days later.

( Source – PTI )

Patna HC quashes lower court order against Taslima Nasreen

Patna HC quashes lower court order against Taslima Nasreen
Patna HC quashes lower court order against Taslima Nasreen

The Patna High Court has quashed a six-year-old order of a lower court which took cognizance of a complaint against controversial Bangladeshi write Taslima Nasreen for allegedly hurting religious sentiments with a tweet.

The writer’s tweet was neither malicious nor was it made to intentionally disturb any public order, Justice Arun Kumar said in his order yesterday on a petition filed by Nasreen challenging the decision of the chief judicial magistrate (CJM) court at Bettiah in West Champaran district.

The CJM court, without conducting a mandatory inquiry under Section 202 of CrPC, took cognisance in the matter, the high court said while quashing the lower court’s order.

The tweet, which was allegedly made with regard to Muslim women in 2011, was published in a Hindi vernacular.

Murad Ali, an advocate at Bettiah civil court, had filed a complaint in the CJM court against Nasreen on October 24, 2011.

The CJM court took cognisance of the matter on May 24, 2012 and later issued a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against the writer.

The author, who is living in India in a self-imposed exile, had challenged the CJM’s decision through her lawyer Amit Srivastava in the Patna high court which had stayed proceedings and execution of NBW on April 15, 2013.

Srivastava said that Murad Ali, the complainant at Bettiah lower court, did not appear in the high court for six hearings including yesterday when the HC passed the order.

Nasreen had fled Bangladesh in the early 1990s after right wing Muslim outfits issued death threats to her.

( Source – PTI )

HC adjourns till Monday petitions challenging new Nitish govt

HC adjourns till Monday petitions challenging new Nitish govt
HC adjourns till Monday petitions challenging new Nitish govt

The Patna High Court today adjourned till Monday the hearing on two PILs challenging the formation of the new government by Nitish Kumar’s JD (U) along with the BJP

After a brief hearing, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice A K Upadhyay adjourned the matter.

Two PILs were filed and their lawyers made a mention of them before the bench ahead of the crucial trust vote the Nitish Kumar government has to take in the Bihar Assembly.

One PIL has been filed by RJD MLAs Saroj Yadav and Chandan Verma while the second one by Jitendra Kumar who is a member of the Samajwadi Party.

The petitions sought the court’s order for issuance of a direction to invite the leader of the single largest party to form government in the state.

Principal Additional Advocate General Lalit Kishore and Additional Solicitor General S D Sanjay termed the PILs as “frivolous”.

Kishore told the court that while copy of the petitions had been given to the counsel of the Union government, the same was not served to those of other parties including the Governor, the Election Commission of India and the Government of Bihar.

After a brief hearing, the court posted the matter for further hearing on Monday next.

Kumar is seeking a trust vote during a one-day special session of the Bihar assembly after the governor asked him to prove his majority on the floor of the House on July 28.

( Source – PTI )

CS, DGP assure HC of traffic regulation

CS, DGP assure HC of traffic regulation
CS, DGP assure HC of traffic regulation

Appearing before the Patna High Court, Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and DGP P K Thakur today assured the court that traffic would be regulated during the human chain programme tomorrow and participation of students and teachers would be voluntary.

The undertaking on traffic and participation of schools teachers and students was given by two top officials of the state to a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Sudhir Singh.

The court had yesterday called for personal presence of the two today to clarify position on traffic and teachers/students participation in the human chain on January 21 across Bihar.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO “Forum for Public Interest Litigation” which raised the issue as under what provision the state government decided to stop traffic on national and state highways for the January 21 human chain.

The counsel for the petitioner, Shahibhusan Kumar, quoting a newspaper had also stated that block education officer of Sasaram has passed a coercive order that students not participating in the human chain programme would be deprived of benefits provided by the state government. Today some more examples were cited like programme to stop traffic in Bhagalpur from tonight itself.

On this Principal Additional Advocate General Lalit Kishore said that these matters would be looked into and suitable action would be taken in case of any wrongdoing.

The hearing was important today as Saturday’s human chain is billed as the world’s largest and about 2 crore citizens are expected to reaffirm commitment to liquor ban.

On traffic for the day, CS and state police chief assured the court that it would be properly regulated as alternative routes have been created along National Highways and State Highways and other roads through which people would stand holding each others hand for 45 minutes from 12:15 PM to 1 PM.

Where alternative route is not available, one lane has been kept open for traffic, they told the court.

They further said that emergency services have been allowed to run without any hindrance and said advocates, litigants and staff of courts have been included in the exemption list along with ambulances, water tankers, civil and police officials, judiciary among others.

The court directed to adequately advertise the traffic arrangements for the day for convenience of citizens.

On participation of students, the Chief Secretary said its purely voluntary and no “direct or indirect” coercive action would be taken against any school teacher/student for absenting from the event.

The matter would be heard next on January 28.

( Source – PTI )

Bihar govt tells Patna HC human chain participation voluntary

Bihar govt tells Patna HC human chain participation voluntary
Bihar govt tells Patna HC human chain participation voluntary

The Bihar government today assured the Patna High Court that participation in Saturday’s human chain, billed as the world’s largest, was voluntary and alternative routes are being created to avoid traffic chaos due to closure of national highways and state highways for five hours.

Principal Additional Advocate General Lalit Kishore gave the state’s reply to a division bench of Acting Chief Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Sudhir Singh during hearing of a PIL filed by NGO “Forum for Public Interest Litigation”.

The PIL wanted to know under what provision the state government decided to stop traffic on national and state highways for the January 21 human chain programme in support of prohibition.

The counsel for the petitioner, Shahibhusan Kumar, presented before the court a newspaper report which stated that block education officer of Sasaram passed a coercive order that students who do not participate in the human chain programme would be deprived of benefits provided by the state government.

The court directed Chief Secretary Anjani Kumar Singh and Director General of Police P K Thakur to personally appear before it tomorrow to clarify on this and also how media comes under essential services to get exemption for plying vehicles on that day.

Kishore told the court that participation in human chain programme is voluntary and “there is no mandatory order for participation”. People are requested to join the programme through appeal, he said.

Regarding participation of school students, he said, the Education Department, which is conducting the human chain, has exempted students below class V from participating in the human chain and participation of students of class V and above is voluntary.

The Nitish Kumar government has planned the gigantic human chain spread across more than 11,292 km involving around two crore people.

( Source – PTI )

Ban on use of alcohol in ayurvedic medicines junked

Ban on use of alcohol in ayurvedic medicines junked
Ban on use of alcohol in ayurvedic medicines junked

The Patna high court today quashed the Bihar government’s notification banning use of alcohol for manufacturing ayurvedic and homeopathic medicines in view of prohibition in force in the state.

The state government through a notification dated March 17, 2016 denied issuing further licences to manufacture ayurvedic and homeopathic medicines having alcohol content in view of the state government’s decision to enforce prohibition from April 1, 2016.

The order was passed by a bench of Chief Justice Iqbal Ahmad Ansari and Justice Samarendra Pratap Singh after hearing two petitions challenging the state government’s notification.

Allowing petitions filed by Samrat Chemical Industries and Shree Baidyanath Ayurved Bhawan Pvt Ltd, the bench observed that the state government does not have power to issue such orders denying issuance of licence to the companies for preparation of alternative medicines.

Defending prohibition decision, the state government counsel submitted that it could be misused for the purpose of manufacturing alcohol in the state if it allowed the companies to use spirit for medicinal purpose.

However, the petitioners’ counsel Satyabir Bharti along with advocate Alok Chandra contended that the likelihood of misuse could not be the ground to prohibit any firm from carrying out its activities.

The state government does not have power to issue such an order denying licence for manufacturing medicine, rather it is the central government which has the power to do so. And even while doing so, the Centre will have to explain the reasons that it will have harmful effects on the people, Bharti submitted.

The state government has taken away the fundamental right to carry out trade and business by depriving the licence, Bharti further argued.

( Source – PTI )

SC favours RJD MLA’s custody till victim deposes

mla-raj-ballabh-yadavThe Supreme Court today rejected a plea by suspended MLA Raj Ballabh Yadav, accused in a rape case, to remain outside Bihar, favouring that the RJD legislator should remain in jail till the victim records her statement “fairly and without any fear”.

A bench of Justices A K Sikri and N V Ramana, which rejected Yadav’s prayer to stay outside the state till the victim deposed before the court, said it was “more concerned” about the safety of minor rape survivor.

“We want prosecutrix to be examined fairly and without any fear and threat. We are more concerned about the safety of the prosecutrix. She should depose in fairest manner and without any fear,” the bench said.

Senior advocate Dushyant Dave, appearing for Yadav, said he was volunteering to stay outside the state till the victim records the statement.

The bench said this cannot be done, he should not be “outside” but “inside”.

But Dave said it would amount to staying the Patna High Court order granting bail and suggested hearing of the matter.

Advocate Gopal Singh, appearing for state, said if the accused is outside jail, the victim cannot depose before the trial court out of fear.

The bench then posted the matter for further hearing on October 27.

The apex court had on October 18 directed the trial court not to record the testimony of the minor rape survivor till October 24 after the state government submitted that she felt threatened due to the accused being out on bail.

The apex court had on October 7 sought the response of the legislator on a plea by the Nitish Kumar government challenging the bail granted to him by the Patna High Court.

Yadav had allegedly raped the minor girl at his residence in Biharsharif on February 6 this year. After evading arrest for a considerable time, he surrendered after a local court issue proclamation notice and an order to attach his properties for not surrendering before the police.

The Bihar Police, in its charge sheet, had also named a woman and her relatives as accused on the ground that they had been allegedly supplying women to the MLA representing Nawada Assembly constituency. The RJD had suspended Yadav from the party on February 14, a day after his arrest warrant was issued.

SC stays Patna HC order quashing Bihar liquor ban law

SC stays Patna HC order quashing Bihar liquor ban law
SC stays Patna HC order quashing Bihar liquor ban law

Supreme Court today stayed the operation of the Patna High Court judgement quashing the Bihar government’s law banning sale and consumption of all types of liquor in the state.

A bench, comprising justices Dipak Misra and U U Lalit, issued notices to all respondents including some liquor manufacturers on whose plea the high court had held as illegal and unconstitutional the Nitish Kumar government’s prohibition law and posted the matter for hearing after eight weeks.

Bihar government has challenged the high court verdict of September 30 which had quashed the notification banning consumption and sale of liquor in the state.

However, after the law was set aside, the Nitish Kumar government came out with a new law banning the sale and consumption of liquor which was notified on the Gandhi Jayanti day on October 2.

( Source – PTI )