Lawyers up against SC judge Cyriac Joseph

Abhaya case: Bar association criticises his visit to forensic lab

The unprecedented resolution, backed by 180 of the 186 advocates present, urged the Supreme Court and other authorities to conduct an inquiry into the incident and take appropriate action in accordance with the law. “Till the inquiry is over, Justice Cyriac Joseph should keep off the Supreme Court without salary and allowances,’’ it said.

The resolution also pointed to media reports about a speech the judge made at a recent meeting of the clergy where he said: “For me, my religion and religious head are more important than my position as a judge.’’

The resolution said: “Justice Cyriac Joseph, who belongs to the same religious order as that of Sister Abhaya and the accused (Fr Thomas M Kottoor, Fr Jose Puthrukayil and Sister Sephy), should not have given room for such a report. The Constitution of India envisages an independent judiciary, which dispenses justice without fear or favour. Needless to say that the judiciary should not only be independent, impartial and unbiased but also should appear to be so without giving any room for suspicion. The conduct of the judge is a blemish on the judiciary, and it has pushed it into the penumbra of suspicion.’’

The Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association had also moved a resolution against the judge. However, it was dismissed as majority of the advocates opposed it, saying it was not legally maintainable.

It was the former FSL assistant director, Dr S Malini, who told the CBI that the judge had visited the laboratory on May 23 last year. It was a private visit. Besides viewing the video tapes of the narco analysis tests conducted on the three accused, he also viewed the test done on an accused in a terror case. The judge also lauded the work done by the lab. His visit was entered in the visitors’ book.

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