Disapproving of the act of an Allahabad High Court judge who threatened a CBI officer, asking him why an FIR should not be registered against him for allegedly committing a fraud on the court, the Supreme Court has expunged the observations and set aside the orders.
A Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir, Cyriac Joseph and S.S. Nijjar was hearing special leave petitions filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation and Javeed Ahmad, Joint Director, CBI, Lucknow Zone, against the two orders passed by Justice Vinod Prasad on July 28 and 29.
On July 28, during the hearing of a criminal revision petition, an adjournment was sought as CBI counsel Anurag Khanna was not present. However, the judge passed an order stating he was never appointed CBI counsel and that Mr. Ahmad had deceived the High Court.
Justice Prasad directed him to be present in court to explain his conduct and why an FIR should not be directed to be registered against him and why his removal should not be recommended to the Union government and the Ministry concerned?
As Mr. Ahmed did not appear the next day, the judge posted the matter for his appearance on August 1.
On July 31, on a mention made by Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati, a Bench headed by Justice Kabir held an urgent sitting at his residence and stayed the order.
On August 4, the three-judge Bench passed a detailed order after satisfying itself from the AG that Mr. Khanna was a validly appointed counsel for the CBI and that Mr. Ahmad had not exceeded his authority.
The Bench, disposing of the SLPs, said: “We are not very happy with the manner in which the two orders dated July 28 and 29 were passed and, accordingly, while setting aside the said orders, we also request the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court to have the matter heard by another judge. The remarks made in the two orders shall also stand expunged.”