The face-off within the Karnataka judiciary just got murkier with the registrar general moving the Supreme Court of India seeking a gag order on one of its judges, who had allegedly passed remarks on assignment of judicial matters.
While the apex court will take up the matter later on Tuesday, various senior advocates in Karnataka have been upset with the recent turn of events and have asked judges to stop expressing their grievances in public.
State Advocate General Ashok Harnahalli said this washing of dirty linen in public is regrettable and is adversely affecting the image of the institution.
"The entire controversy has arisen only because one of the judges in the high court had a problem with some matters not being placed before him. One must understand that the chief justice of any court is the Master of the Roster and it is he who decides as to who any matter goes before," he said.
"In the case of Karnataka, however, the institution has been left headless in the wake of Chief Justice P D Dinakaran being asked not to take up matters due to an ongoing controversy against him. It is unfortunate to say that the Supreme Court or the government of India has not acted upon this matter and posted a functioning chief justice," he added.
Uday Holla, a senior counsel who is representing the registrar general of Karnataka high court in this case at the Supreme Court, said the image of the institution has suffered a great deal.
He said: "Everyday the newspapers scream stating that the registrar has been pulled up by the judge and this is not going down too well with the litigants who come to the court seeking justice. I do not hold a brief for anybody here, but I am more concerned about the institution. Every time there is a judges' spat, it appears in the newspapers and the institution suffers."
Justice Santosh Hegde, former Supreme Court judge, said the Karnataka high court was being dragged into the muck for the past six months.
"Under the guise of fulfilling their egos, these judges are ruining the name of the high court. The Supreme Court will have a huge role to play in this matter.
"Here we have a chief justice who is told not to do judicial work, but he continues to enjoy administrative power. This is not correct and the Supreme Court will have to decide on this matter too. I would like to point out that any self respecting judge would have resigned the moment he was asked to go on leave."
Putte Gowda, president of the Bangalore Advocates Association who had passed the resolution that Justice Dinakaran would not hear matters until he was cleared, said the apex court better take a decision to maintain the dignity of the institution."Ego clashes in the high court have been taking place too often and this does not augur well with the institution," he said.