The Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday a special leave petition filed by the Karnataka High Court challenging the orders passed by Justice D.V. Shylendra Kumar, heading a Division Bench, questioning the administrative powers of Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran.
A vacation Bench of Justices Deepak Verma and K.S. Radhakrishnan agreed to list the matter for Tuesday when senior counsel Uday Holla mentioned the urgency of the issue and said Justice Shylendra Kumar was to take up the case in the afternoon.
Counsel submitted that even after it was brought to the notice of Justice Shylendra Kumar on Monday morning that the Supreme Court was to hear the matter, the judge had called for the files from the High Court Registrar and heard them (Registrar-General and others) in the open court. Justice Verma said: “We have not read the papers, we need time to go through. We will take it up tomorrow [on Tuesday].”
In its SLP, the High Court alleged that while hearing a tax/customs matter, a Division Bench of Justices Shylendra Kumar and N. Ananda, questioned the administrative decisions taken by Justice Dinakaran and had sought information from the Registrar-General about the roaster of judges and allocation of work for judges of the principal and circuit Benches.
It said Justice Shylendra Kumar had questioned the decision of the Chief Justice not listing the tax matter on a particular date before the circuit Bench at Dharwar which he was presiding.
The Chief Justice had taken a decision that the matter would be heard later when they return to the Principal Bench in Bangalore.
The Bench called for the records as if to sit in appeal over the decision of the Chief Justice. The Registrar-General and Registrar (Judicial) were directed to file an explanation and the matter was listed for June 4, 9, 10 and 11.
On June 9, Justice Shylendra Kumar made some comments, viz., “Who is the Chief Justice? What authority does he have? The Chief Justice could be the highest authority, but he cannot alter judicial orders. It is dereliction on the part of the Chief Justice, if he is altering the order of others …by doing so the High Court has lost its sanctity.”
The SLP said it was a settled law that the Chief Justice was the Master of the Roster and he alone would decide how Benches of the High Courts had to be constituted and work distributed among the judges.
That apart, Justice Shylendra Kumar had been berating the Chief Justice in open court in intemperate language with a view to ensuring that the same was printed in the news media.
The SLP said: “This has gone on for four continuous days and presently the matter is directed to be listed today [June 14] with a further direction to produce more documents and records in order to again sit in appeal over the orders of Chief Justice relating to the assignment of roasters, constitution of Benches, which is within the sole domain of Chief Justice, with a view to further denigrate him questioning his authority.”