Top court to hear plea over HC judge’s remarks against ACB chief
The Supreme Court on Tuesday is expected to hear a special leave petition filed by Karnataka’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) against the orders and observations made by Karnataka high court judge, justice PS Sandesh even as the latter recorded the threat of transfer in a written order on Monday.
Solicitor general Tushar Mehta mentioned the matter before Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, requesting for an urgent hearing in view of the serious observations made by the single-judge HC bench during the hearing of a bail matter on July 7. The senior law officer pointed out that there were reports in the media on the HC judge’s remarks regarding threats to the judge for passing orders in the case as well as the indictment of the ACB and Singh.
“What is this…threatening judges with transfer and all?” the CJI asked Mehta, who replied that an urgent hearing was therefore required to clear the air. At this, justice Ramana agreed to list the matter.
Meanwhile, justice Sandesh on Monday put on record the threat of transfer he said he had received days after he made a startling claim that he was intimidated for passing orders against the state’s ACB chief Seemanth Kumar Singh, LiveLaw reported.
The judge stated that he was given the threat of transfer on July 1 while attending the farewell dinner arranged for the then chief justice of Karnataka XXXX (name).
“Your ADGP is so powerful… Some person spoken to one of our high court judges. The judge came and sat with me and he says, giving an example of transferring one of the judge to some other district…I will not hesitate to mention the name of the judge also (sic),” the judge said, HT had reported.
The judge had said that tainted officers should not be “at the helm of affairs”. He was hearing a case filed by deputy tehsildar PS Mahesh for allegedly accepting a bribe of ₹5 lakh in a matter related to a land dispute.
On July 7, the official in question, ADGP Singh, approached the Karnataka high court to expunge the remarks.
“The learned single judge has made unwarranted comments regarding the integrity of the petitioner and also that of the ACB which is headed by the petitioner. The learned single judge has stated that the ACB is a collection centre, that the petitioner is a tainted officer,” according to the filing, listing it out to have happened on June 29 in the chronology of events.The senior police officer, in his petition, had stated that the statements made by the judge were widely published on all news media platforms.
Justice Sandesh had made a startling claim on July 4 that he was given an indirect threat of transfer if he continued to monitor the progress of a case involving a senior IAS officer (J Manjunath) in Bengaluru.
In the case relating to the IAS officer, the judge had equated corruption to “cancer” and said that he will protect the independence of the judiciary at all costs from such threats.