Sunday 25 January 2015

Whether complaint can be made against Judge without affidavit of complainant and substantial evidence?

AHMEDABAD: The judges of lower courts across the state have now got a sort of immunity from Gujarat high court. A circular issued by the HC says that no complaint against any judicial officer will be entertained unless it is accompanied by an affidavit (by the complainant) and substantial evidence. 

This means anonymous complaints received against judges of lower court will now be junked. High court registrar general B N Karia's circular says that acting Chief Justice V M Sahai has laid down certain guidelines to deal with complaints against members of lower judiciary. 

"The complainant making allegations against the members of the subordinate judiciary in the state should not be entertained and no action should be taken thereon, unless it is accompanied by a duly sworn affidavit and verifiable material to substantiate the allegations made therein," the circular reads. The HC has said that action will be taken only after ascertaining the authenticity of the complaint, and "if the requirements are not complied with, the complaint should be junked without taking any steps thereon". 

Sources in the HC said that this system has been adopted to curb the practice of sending anonymous complaints and to protect the judiciary from getting its image tarnished wrongly. However, the chairman of Bar Council of Gujarat, Manoj Anadkat, said: "This measure will not stop people from sending anonymous complaints. The bar council does not entertain a complaint without affidavit, but the number of anonymous complaints is not decreasing."

Lately, the high court administration has become strict with people who level false charges against judges without furnishing evidence. The high court has summoned complainants in many cases and asked them to provide evidence against judges concerned. Upon failure, the HC has initiated contempt of court proceedings against them.

Recently, the HC punished Bhuj litigant Yogesh Bhatt and his lawyer Mehboob Ali Bawa with imprisonment for one week for sending complaint against a judge and for being unable to furnish the evidence. Similarly, many other lawyers and litigants, including lawyer Maulin Barot who accused judge B J Ganatra without furnishing any proof, now face such proceedings in the HC.

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