11-Judge Bench of Patna HC ‘Suspends’ Order Critical of Judiciary

The Bench held the order passed was an “attack on judicial hierarchy, judicial integrity and majesty of the court.”

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In an unprecedented action, an 11-judge Bench of the Patna High Court on Thursday, 29 August, “suspended” an order passed by a single judge which was critical of the judiciary.

The Bench, led by Chief Justice AP Sahi, held that the order passed on Wednesday was an “attack on judicial hierarchy, judicial integrity and majesty of the court,” according to Advocate General of Bihar Lalit Kishor.

“Justice Rakesh Kumar had, in his detailed order passed yesterday, expressed his concerns over alleged casteism and corruption in the high court and the entire judicial system. He had also made some adverse remarks against judges who have retired or passed away.”
Lalit Kishor, Advocate General of Bihar

“Taking a serious note of the matter, Chief Justice AP Sahi constituted a Bench comprising eleven judges, which today, took a grim view of the single judge order and suspended it, observing that it was tantamount to an attack on judicial hierarchy, judicial integrity and majesty of the court,” he said.

Kishor further said,

“The Bench also ruled that the contents of the single judge order shall not be communicated anywhere,” and that “the order of the eleven-judge Bench will be kept with the chief justice on the administrative side for further line of action.”

Justice Kumar had passed the order while taking suo motu cognisance of grant of bail to retired IAS officer KP Ramaiah by a vigilance court in Patna, a year after he had turned down the anticipatory bail plea of the former bureaucrat, who is an accused in a corruption case.

Earlier, a notice was published in the court's registry on behalf of the Chief Justice stating, “All the matters pending before Justice Rakesh Kumar, sitting singly including tied up/part heard or otherwise stand withdrawn with immediate effect.”

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