Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has decided to recommend the removal of Allahabad high court judge Justice S N Shukla as part of an in-house procedure after he was found guilty of misconduct by an internal probe into a medical college admission scam.
According to court sources today, the CJI is expected to write to the President and the Prime Minister soon about his recommendation that is required under the in-house procedure to remove a sitting high court judge.
A three-judge in-house committee, comprising Madras high court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee, Sikkim high court Chief Justice S K Agnihotri and Madhya Pradesh high court judge Justice P K Jaiswal, had concluded there was sufficient substance in the allegations contained in the complaint against Justice Shukla and that the aberrations were serious enough to call for initiation of proceedings for his removal.
Following the committee's report, the CJI, in accordance with the relevant in-house procedure, advised Justice Shukla to either resign or seek voluntary retirement forthwith.
Sources said after he refused to do so, the CJI had asked the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court to withdraw judicial work from him with immediate effect which was done on Tuesday.
Justice Shukla has reportedly gone on long leave.
'In case the judge expresses unwillingness to resign or seek voluntary retirement, the chief justice of the concerned high court should be advised by the CJI not to allocate any judicial work to the judge concerned and the President of India and the Prime Minister shall be intimated that this had been done because allegations against the judge had been found by the committee to be so serious as to warrant the initiation of proceedings for removal...' reads the in-house procedure dealing with the process of removal of high court judges in such cases.
Since Justice Shukla has not resigned as yet, as per the in-house mechanism, the CJI is bound to write to the President and the Prime Minister for initiation of proceedings to remove the judge by way of an impeachment motion, sources said.
When the CJI writes to the President and Prime Minister for removal of a high court judge, the Rajya Sabha chairperson appoints a three-judge inquiry committee in consultation with the CJI under the provisions of the Judges (Enquiry) Act, 1968 to look into the allegations.
The commiitee appointed by the Rajya Sabha Chairperson would examine the evidence and records and would then opine if the same formed the basis for whether or not removal motion be debated in the Upper House.
Justice Shukla, who was heading a division bench in the high court, had allegedly defied the categorical restraint orders passed by a CJI-led bench of the apex court last year to permit private colleges to admit students for the 2017-18 academic session.
Two complaints, including one from the advocate general of the state, was received by the CJI on September 1 last year and the then CJI had constituted an in-house committee.
According to the inquiry committee report, Justice Shukla had 'disgraced the values of judicial life, acted in a manner unbecoming of a judge', lowered the 'majesty, dignity and credibility of his office' and acted in breach of his oath of office.
Image: Chief Justice of India Justice Dipak Misra.