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Jharkhand judge death: Supreme Court not happy with CBI’s ‘sealed cover’ report

Special Investigating Team (SIT) investigates the accident spot of Additional District Judge Uttam Anand's alleged murder case, in Dhanbad. (PTI)  

The Supreme Court on Monday said there was no word in the CBI’s “sealed cover” report about the motive behind the murder of Jharkhand district judge Uttam Anand, whose death saw Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana voice his concern over the mounting attacks on judges and total disregard shown by Central agencies and State police forces to these criminal acts which threaten judiciary’s independence.

“You have filed a report in a sealed cover. It says ‘we went there’, ‘we went here’, etc. But your people have not indicated the motive... We wanted something concrete,” the CJI expressed the court’s dissatisfaction to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the CBI.

Mr. Mehta said two people have been arrested in the case. “They are under interrogation... cannot reveal anything now,” he submitted.

Weekly status report

The top court directed the CBI to file a weekly status report on the investigation with the Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court.

“The Chief Justice of the High Court will monitor every week,” the CJI said. The gravity of the matter, that is, the murder of a sitting judge, required the CBI to report to the Chief Justice of the High Court, he stated.

The previous hearing had seen the CJI lash out at Central agencies such as the CBI, the Intelligence Bureau and State police forces for ignoring complaints from judges about abusive messages and threats even as attacks on the judiciary are on the rise.

The court, which has taken suo motu cognisance of the rising number of attacks on judicial officers and even High Court judges, has suggested the formation of a special force to protect judges, especially trial judges who decide criminal cases involving high-profile accused.

“We have seen that in criminal cases involving high-profile people, there is a new trend of maligning judges. There is no freedom for judges to work. The CBI, the police, the IB do not help the judiciary. I am making this statement with some sense of responsibility... In several cases across the country involving gangsters and high-profile and powerful accused, they threaten judges, not just physically but also mentally through abusive messages, peeping into judges’ online accounts, etc. We are very sorry to say that the CBI did nothing about complaints made to it... There is still no change in the attitude of the CBI,” the CJI orally observed on August 6.

‘Negligence’

The court had blamed the Jharkhand government's “negligence” in providing adequate security cover to Judge Anand. In the last hearing, the CJI asked whether Jharkhand was “washing its hands off” any responsibility of investigating the murder by transferring the case to CBI.

The Chief Justice had said judges functioning in courts are not protected from anti-social elements entering court complexes and resorting to violence and threats.

The court has asked the Centre and the State governments to file status reports on the kind of security provided to subordinate and higher judiciary.


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Printable version | Oct 26, 2021 6:26:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/jharkhand-hc-chief-justice-to-weekly-monitor-cbi-probe-into-dhanbad-judge-death-says-supreme-court/article35811581.ece

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