I am giving below the links for the stories on the bizarre case of the Judge, Justice Uma Nath Singh, of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The links are here and here. The victim, Tahar Singh, a lawyer, has been in the forefront seeking judicial accountability. His only ‘offence’, which infuriated the Judge appears to be submission of a memorandum signed by over 500 advocates demanding an urgent meeting of the High Court Bar Association to discuss the perceived misconduct of the Judge. The Judge concerned, therefore, uses the power of judicial order to settle personal scores.
The Single Judge’s order is patently illegal because of the following facts:
A. It calls Tahar Singh a lunatic, but does not issue notice to his guardian.
B. It directs the CBI to take him into custody and subject him to examination at a mental asylum at Agra with sophisticated equipments ;
C.The CBI plunges into action, and implements the illegal order of the Judge, without even informing the Chief Justice of the High Court;
D. Before directing the CBI to take Tahar Singh into custody, on the basis of a pending complaint to the police by his estranged wife, the Judge did not even find out from the police why action was not taken on the complaint – the fact that police delayed action because compromise was being tried by the couple was ignored by the Judge. The fact that Tahar Singh’s wife is no longer keen on her complaint, filed a month earlier, against her husband, fails to convince the Judge that his order is disproportionate to the alleged offence.
E. The Judge assumed that Tahar Singh must be a lunatic – not even a doctor’s certificate is insisted – and sends him to a mental asylum in Agra (of all the places! not even Chandigarh or Delhi). Tahar Singh’s children and friends testify that he is not a lunatic. Tahar Singh convinces the media of his normal state of mind – all to no effect.
F. Instead of recalling this patently illegal order suo motu, the Chief Justice of the High Court waits for the agitating lawyers to plead for constitution of a Division Bench, and the Division Bench so constituted stays the Single Judge’s order, and asks the petitioners/lawyers not to discuss the issue in public.
The Senior Standing Counsel for Chandigarh Administration, Mr.Anupam Gupta is asked to resign, following his participation in the lawyers’ agitation against Justice Uma Nath Singh. Mr.Anupam Gupta, who faces a contempt notice against him issued by the Chief Justice in another matter, (in which the Chandigarh Administration defended Gupta’s prerogative to make submissions on its behalf), quit under pressure, even though he denies any conflict of interest.
As lawyers continue to boycott Justice Uma Nath Singh’s court, seeking his transfer and impeachment for his bizarre order, the reverberations of this stormy episode in Chandigarh are yet to be heard in New Delhi. As Parliament is yet to finalise the Bill on the powers and functions of the yet-to-be-formed National Judicial Council (the Bill is before the Standing Committee), it appears the first case to be decided by the NJC may well be that of Justice Uma Nath Singh.