SC Takes Suo Motu Cognisance of Jharkhand Judge's Death, Seeks Report
Additional District Judge Uttam Anand was killed in a road incident on 28 July in Jharkhand's Dhanbad.
A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) NV Ramana has taken suo motu cognisance of the death of Jharkhand judge Uttam Anand, and has asked the state chief secretary and police chief to submit a report on the progress of the investigation within one week, reports said on Friday, 30 July.
Additional District Judge Uttam Anand was killed in a road incident on 28 July in Jharkhand's Dhanbad. The deceased, who was hit by a tempo, while jogging near the Randhir Verma Chowk in the city, is suspected to have been murdered in what had earlier been construed as an accident.
SC’s Suo Motu Case on Safeguarding Courts, Judges
Issuing a notice to all states, the apex court said it was taking note of attacks on judicial officers and the legal fraternity across the country, while also pointing out that the Jharkhand High Court will keep monitoring the probe into the death of the additional district judge, news agency PTI reported.
Meanwhile, Special Investigation Team (SIT) has been set up under Additional Director General of Police (ADG) to probe the death of the Dhanbad judge.
The apex court also specifically sought the presence of the Jharkhand Advocate General when it hears the case next week.
The bench also made it clear that it was aware of the fact that the Jharkhand High Court has taken up the matter, and that the apex court will not be interfering in the high court proceedings.
The court also, according to LiveLaw, stated that it is concerned with the larger issue of nature of the incident and the measures resorted to by the state government in a bid to ensure the protection of judicial officers.
The court further said that in view of similar incidents taking place across the country, the matter warrants a larger consideration for a detailed examination of issues pertaining to the interests of the legal fraternity.
The bench added that it will consider issuing notice to the other states at the next hearing.
Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) President Vikas Singh, speaking in the Supreme Court on Thursday, 29 July, called the suspected murder of the Jharkhand-based judge a 'brazen attack on the judiciary', and called for a CBI investigation into the matter.
The Jharkhand High Court, on Thursday, too took suo motu cognisance of the death of the judge.
High Court Chief Justice Dr Ravi Ranjan has issued an order directing the Superintendent of Dhanbad police to remain present before the court on Thursday, in relation to the case.
The high court directed expeditious investigation in ADJ Uttam Anand's demise. The court will also monitor the investigation on a day-to-day basis.
Further, the police have been informed that if their investigation is not satisfactory, the case will be handed over to the CBI.
Two people – including the driver of the vehicle, Lakhan Verma, and his associate, Rahul Verma – have been arrested. The family of the judge, on the other hand, have called his death "planned murder" and demanded a CBI probe into the matter.
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