Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra on Tuesday recommended the impeachment of Justice Shri Narayan Shukla, the eighth senior-most judge of the Allahabad High Court, following an adverse report about him by an in-house panel set up by the CJI.
The CJI has set the process in motion with a letter to the Prime Minister for the impeachment of the judge.
When the impeachment motion is moved in Parliament, an investigation is conducted. If the findings of guilt are confirmed, the impeachment motion will be put to vote for the removal of the judge by a majority.
The move for a possible impeachment of Justice Shukla began with Allahabad High Chief Justice D.B. Bhosale withdrawing judicial duties from him from January 23, 2018.
The trigger was a scathing report by the committee led by Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee.
Justice Shukla joined the Allahabad High Court in 2005 and was set to retire on July 17, 2020.
His orders in the cases of blacklisted private medical colleges in Lucknow had come under the scanner of the CJI Bench last year.
SC direction defied
Chief Justice Misra had expressed “shock” at an order passed by a Division Bench led by Justice Shukla on September 1, 2017, allowing the G.C.R.G. Memorial Trust, based in Lucknow, in defiance of a “graphically clear” restraining direction from the Supreme Court on August 28 to stop admissions for the academic session 2017-18.
Corrections to order
The Supreme Court noted how Justice Shukla, on September 4, even made some corrections to the September 1 order.
On November 23, CJI Misra, in a 14-page judgment, held that the Division Bench, led by Justice Shukla, had abandoned “the concept of judicial propriety” and transgressed judicial rules to “proceed on a path where it was not required to.”
The CJI noted that such transgressions caused “institutional problems”. The Justice Banerjee Committee was formed shortly after this judgment on December 8.
Justice Shukla was also heading the High Court Division Bench that passed an order on August 25, 2017 in the case of another banned medical college of the Lucknow-based Prasad Education Trust, which led to a scandal that sent shock waves across the judiciary and compelled the CJI to re-affirm his authority as the master of the roster.
Justice Shukla’s Bench, in an interim order, restrained the Medical Council of India from de-listing the Prasad Education Trust’s medical college. This order is part of an FIR filed by the CBI that alleges that a criminal conspiracy was hatched by officials of the Prasad Education Trust along with several persons, including I.M. Quddusi, retired judge of the Orissa High Court, to lift the ban on the college from admitting students for the couple of years.