The Supreme Court has refused to intervene with the Uttarakhand High Court’s interim order dismissing a senior judicial officer’s plea for altering the inquiry officer, who was analyzing prices of sexual harassment towards him, over alleged bias.
A bench of justices L Nageswara Rao, Hemant Gupta and Ajay Rastogi rejected the plea of the extra district choose, saying that he can elevate the bottom of bias even after the inquiry towards him will get over.
“We are not inclined to interfere with the order passed by the high court. The Special Leave Petition is, accordingly, dismissed. Pending application(s), if any, stands disposed of accordingly.
“However, the excessive courtroom is requested to lastly get rid of the writ petition when the matter is listed on October 31, together with modification utility,” the bench said in its recent order.
Senior advocate PS Patwalia, who appeared for the petitioner along with advocate Sachin Sharma, argued that his client has an outstanding record and these allegations were levelled to embarrass him.
He claimed that a day after his plea for a change of inquiry officer was taken up for hearing by the high court, the inquiry officer had closed the defence and started proceedings ex-parte.
The bench said that it will not interfere with the inquiry but can ask the high court to decide on the plea and pass the order.
“If you have got a superb case on bias, you’ll succeed. You can argue on the purpose of bias, even after the inquiry will get over”, the bench said.
The additional district judge in his plea has contended that the inquiry officer, who is a sitting judge of the high court, is also a member of the committee that had recommended disciplinary inquiry against him, and any exercise so conducted cannot be said to be fair.
He claimed that the high court on October 8, without considering the facts and circumstances of the case, by a non-speaking order gave a prima facie finding that it was too late for making the allegation of bias against the presiding officer and had rejected the stay application.
“That it’s a gross case of violation of the precept of pure justice whereby the petitioner, who’s a member of Higher Judicial Service, imparted justice with none spot on his profession for the final 16 years, having excellent ACR all through, is now himself rattling for the justice,” his plea said.
The plea sought a stay on the order of the high court as well as on the disciplinary proceedings against the petitioner.
The plea said that in 2017, the petitioner was transferred from the post of registrar of the Uttarakhand High Court and was posted as First Additional District Judge and Session Judge, Haridwar.
It said that on February 1, 2018, the complainant was directed to join/attach with the officer of the petitioner as a contractual employee and just after working for two days on February 1 and 2, he was directed to join at some other place.
To the shock and surprise of the petitioner, he was informed after being suspended and charge-sheeted that the contractual employee had made a “false and frivolous criticism, dated March 19, 2018, to the district Judge Haridwar, alleging therein that the petitioner had tried to take undue benefit and sexually harassed him on February 1 and a couple of”.
The plea contended that “this naked truth itself exhibits that complainant was planted by somebody having grudges towards the petitioner to defame/disable him from performing his official duties”.
The petition claimed that the complainant and his mother, in their cross-examination conducted before the Inquiry Officer, had admitted that they filed the complaint dated March 19, 2018 only because they were promised that the complainant’s job will be regularized.
“Hence, your entire disciplinary continuing is nothing however a gross abuse of means of regulation,” it mentioned, including that on September 21, the inquiry officer had even refused to permit the complainant to withdraw his criticism.
The plea additionally mentioned that the inquiry officer had dismissed the recusal utility dated September 21 filed by the petitioner.
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