Mumbai lawyer gets rap for ‘baseless’ allegations against judge

July 9th, 2008 - 10:00 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 9 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday asked a Mumbai lawyer to either justify his allegations of caste bias and irregularity against Bombay High Court Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar or face punitive action. A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan issued notice to advocate Rohin N. Pandya, asking him to explain why he had accused Judge Kumar of a caste-bias in promoting and transferring a judge of the Maharashtra subordinate judiciary.

The bench, which also included Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice J.M. Panchal, issued notice to the Bar Council of India also, asking it why action should not be taken against the advocate for indulging in professional misconduct.

The bench issued notices when V.N. Raghupathy, counsel of Pandya and co-petitioner Pankaj Kotecha, sought to withdraw the petition against Justice Kumar.

Solicitor General Goolam E. Vahanvati, appearing for the Bombay High Court’s registrar general, objected to the plea for withdrawing the petition. He told the court that after making such “baseless and reckless allegations”, the petitioner should not be allowed to go scot-free.

Besides suggesting action for indulging in professional misconduct, he also recommended the imposition of a heavy fine for moving court in the garb of filing a public interest lawsuit.

Advocate Pandya alleged in his petition that Chief Justice Kumar transferred Mumbai anti-terror court’s judge P.D. Kode, who conducted the trial of those involved in the 1993 Mumbai blasts, merely to the post of registrar in a Nashik court, while he deserved to be promoted to the post of a Bombay High Court judge owing to his seniority.

Pandya also alleged that Justice Kumar instead promoted two others as high court judges as they belonged to the Marwari community, to which the chief justice too belonged. The bench, however, pointed out that Kumar did not belong to the Marwari community.

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