SC reconstitutes in-house committee to investigate allegations against Orissa HC judges

Team SoOLEGAL 4 Jul 2018 11:30am

SC reconstitutes in-house committee to investigate allegations against Orissa HC judges

The SC has constituted a fresh committee to investigate allegations made against two sitting judges of Orissa High Court – Justices Indrajit Mohanty and SS Sahoo.

This is the third time that the committee is being reconstituted to look into the above allegations.

The first committee set up to inspect into the matter was expected to sit in March 2017. But one of the committee members, Justice Abdul Nazeer was elevated to the top court before it could do so.

Following this, a new in-house committee was constituted with then Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice SJ Vazifdar. The other members of the reconstituted committee comprised of Tripura HC Chief Justice T Vaiphei and Allahabad HC Judge, Justice Arun Tandon. A meeting was held by this committee on the matter on May 2017, wherein the statements of the complainants as well as the judges were recorded.

The inquiry, however, was stalled after the name of a sitting Supreme Court Judge came up during the investigation. The committee then wrote to the then Chief Justice Khehar, seeking his guidance. However, before any development in the matter, Justices Vazifdar and Vaiphei retired.

The retirement of the committee judges prompted Das to write a letter to the CJI, Dipak Misra – seeking constitution of a new committee. Consequently, a third committee was set up.

The third in-house committee would be led by the Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and includes the Chief Justice of Karnataka HC, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari, and Madhya Pradesh HC Judge, Justice Ravi Shanker Jha.

The committee would look into the complaints of abuse of power against the two Orissa HC judges.

The in-house committee is due to hold its first meeting on July 5 (this week) in the afternoon, at the Tamil Nadu House, New Delhi.

Case background:

An Orissa based RTI activist, Jayanta Kumar Das and one Dr Aditya Prasad Mishra had accused the two Orissa judges of wrongdoings, including misuse of public funds for personal use and violation of the code of ethics applicable to judges.

Former Chief justice of India, Justice T.S. Thakur, while acting on complaints filed by the complainants, had constituted the in-house committee to probe the allegations.

The complainants also comprised of an organisation dubbed as “The Truth”, and its office bearers, Dr. Aditya Prasad Mishra (President) and Advocate Shyam Manohar (Secretary). However, the complainants went untraceable when a former in-house committee took up the matter in May 2017.

The second-most senior judge of the Orissa HC, Justice Mohanty has been accused to have obtained a bank loan of Rs 2.5 crores to run a hotel which he owns, which Das claimed to be in violation of the code of ethics for Judges.

The allegations against Justice Sahoo claimed that he used funds beyond his entitlements to renovate his official bungalow, while he was an additional judge.

Tagged: Supreme Court   SC Probe commission   Orissa High Court Judges   Justice Indrajit Mohanty   Justice SS Sahoo   RTI Activist Jayanta Kumar Das   Chief Justice Indira Banerjee  
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