SC: Judges' conduct should be exemplary

The court made the observation while hearing petitions filed by Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court P D Dinakaran, challenging impeachment proceedings for his alleged “misbeahviour” and corruption.

“A judge in court has a personality and his conduct has to be exemplary in all respects. Any aberration would make him liable. Any deviation would dilute the dignity of the institution and office,” a Bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly said.

Senior advocate Basava Prabhu Patil, representing Justice Dinakaran, contended that the Inquiry Panel set up under the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968, to probe charges against him had gone beyond the mandate given in the impeachment notice.

“For any illegality, violation of laws against benami transactions etc, recourse is provided under laws and the same cannot be a subject matter of Judges (Inquiry) Act,” he submitted.

The counsel also submitted that the inquiry by the committee while traversing beyond 12 charges was “ultra vires”.

The inquiry panel headed by Supreme Court judge Justice Aftab Alam and comprising Karnataka High Court Chief Justice J S Kehar and senior advocate P P Rao had in March framed 16 charges against Justice Dinakaran.

Justice Dinakaran, former Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, also said there was “reasonable apprehension of bias” due to inclusion of senior advocate Rao as jurist in the Panel as the lawyer had drafted representation to oppose his elevation to the apex court.

Patil also said the appointment of senior advocate U U Lalit as prosecutor before framing the charges was against the scheme of the Act.

The court is likely to hear the submission by various parties, including Lalit on behalf of the inquiry panel, Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra and advocate Prashant Bhushan next Tuesday.

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