While hearing an appeal against a stay order passed by the Allahabad HC last week, the judge had said, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, said Shakespeare in Hamlet, and it can similarly be said that something is rotten in the Allahabad high court."
This statement has not gone done well with the judges and lawyers of the Allahabad HC. "The HC has decided to file a curative petition seeking expunging of the objectionable remarks by the SC judge," highly-placed sources told rediff.com.
This decision was taken at a highly confidential closed-door meeting of 71 high court judges at Allahabad on November 27, barely 24 hours after the apex court judge blasted the HC.
It was on November 26, during the course of hearing an appeal that Justice Katju observed, "There's something rotten in the Allahabad HC. Some judges have their kith and kin practicing in the same court and within a few years of starting their practice, the sons or relatives of such judges become multi-millionaires."
He went on to add, "A lot of complaints are coming against certain judges of the Allahabad HC relating to their integrity."
What irked thousands of lawyers of the Allahabad HC bar was the fact that the SC judge ignored the corrective action that had already been taken by the court in that case. "A division bench of the Allahabad HC itself had quashed the controversial order of a single judge bench over which Justice Katju had reacted," pointed out a senior advocate of Allahabad.
"What was even more strange was that Justice Katju's remarks came after he himself upheld the judgment of the division bench of Allahabad high court," remarked the lawyer on the condition of anonymity. "In fact, the corrective action taken by the high court should have been appreciated."
The Allahabad judges decided to send the HC registrar general to the SC to assess how best the issue could be raised before the apex court.
On being contacted, Allahabad HC Bar Association secretary P D Tripathi said, "There is no denying that some judges may be corrupt, but a sweeping statement branding the entire court as corrupt was surely not fair."