Defer hearing for 3 days, SC to K’taka HC judge who claimed receiving transfer threat

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Defer hearing for 3 days, SC to K’taka HC judge who claimed receiving transfer threat

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Karnataka High Court to defer hearing for three days in a bail matter, where it had made caustic remarks against the Additional Director General of Police (ADGP) of the state’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB).

The high court judge had claimed receiving a transfer threat in connection with his comments against the functioning of the ACB.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing Karnataka government, submitted before a bench headed by Chief Justice N. V. Ramana that the remarks could have been avoided and urged the bench to stay the proceedings before high court for a few days. Senior advocate Amit Kumar, representing ADGP Seemanth Kumar Singh, submitted that his client’s ACRs have been read in open court and strictures passed against him without hearing him.

Mehta said the high court’s judge observations were ex-parte and that if the judge genuinely felt there was an issue with ACB, he could have flagged it to the chief justice of the high court for hearing by an appropriate bench.

The bench, also comprising Justices Krishna Murari and Hima Kohli, queried: “What happened to the accused who sought bail?

Mehta said the bail was not taken up and the high court judge called for confidential reports of the ACB officer and unwarrantedly read it out in the open court.

The bench said: “You should have made the high court registrar as the party.”

The top court sought a copy of the high court judge’s order and scheduled the matter for further hearing later this week.

It was hearing a plea by the ADGP against the order passed by Justice H.P. Sandesh of the Karnataka High Court on July 7 in a bail matter.

After hearing arguments, the bench said even though the top court had listed the matter today, the judge directed hearing of the matter tomorrow and also passed certain speaking orders. “Taking into consideration this, we think it is fit to request the judge to defer the hearing for 3 days”, said the bench.

The case was in connection with a criminal petition filed by an accused, who was arrested by the ACB for accepting bribes, allegedly on behalf of deputy commissioner (Bengaluru Urban). “Your ADGP is apparently powerful. Someone had spoken to a high court judge who mentioned to me an instance of another judge being transferred. I will not hesitate to name the judge who gave this information. There is a threat of transfers to this court. I will protect the independence of the judiciary at the cost of my judgeship,” Justice Sandesh had said.

The high court also summoned ACB’s special counsel to bring on record data, including B reports and charge sheets filed by the agency since its inception.

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