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Attack on judge: Independence of judiciary in jeopardy, says Patna High Court

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The Patna High Court has observed that the “independence of judiciary is in jeopardy”.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Rajan Gupta and Justice Mohit Kumar Shah was conducting a special hearing late on Thursday night on an “unprecedented and shocking” matter of a physical attack and assault on Additional District and Sessions Judge of sub-divisional court at Jhanjharpur in Madhubani Avinash Kumar-1 by two policemen inside his chamber.

The court noted, “as per direction of the hon’ble Chief Justice, the present case has been listed before this Bench for special hearing in view of unprecedented and shocking matter which has come to light in view of a report received from the in charge District and Sessions Judge, Madhubani date 18 November, 2021”.

The Bench said, “Prima facie, it appears that this episode puts the independence of judiciary in jeopardy.”

It fixed November 29 as the next date of hearing. It issued notices to the Chief Secretary, Director General of Police (DGP), Principal Home Secretary and Madhubani Superintendent of Police [SP] Satya Prakash . It directed the DGP to remain present on the next date of hearing. “In view of the sensitivity of the issue, he shall look into the matter and file a status report in a sealed cover,” it stated.

Letter to HC

Earlier, the District and Sessions Judge had sent a letter (No. 1993) to the High Court in respect of the “physical attack and assault on Sri Avinash Kumar-1, Additional District and Sessions Judge Jhanjharpur”.

It said, “About 2.00 p.m., the Officer in-Charge namely Gopal Krishna, SHO, and Abhimanyu Kumar Sharma, Sub-Inspector of Police of Ghoghardiha, forcible entered the chamber of Sri Avinash Kumar-1, Additional District and Sessions Judge, Jhanjharpur, and started abusing him. On his protest, both police officers started misbehaving and manhandling the judge and not only this, they also physically assaulted him. They also took out their service revolvers and wanted to attack the officer. However, certain court employees and advocated reached there, due to which the life of the officer was saved.”

Both the police officers were taken into custody by the local police, but later they were shifted to the Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital (DMCH). The SP could not be contacted over phone for his reaction.

‘Unusual’ orders

Mr. Avinash Kumar-1, of late, has been hitting the headlines for his judgments. The High Court, on September 24, seized his judicial powers for his series of ‘unusual’ orders.

Recently, the judge, while denying bail in a case, asked the DGP to send the SP and Sub-Divisional Police Officer for further training on law for their “poor knowledge”. He termed the case rape but the police had not filed a charge sheet invoking the POCSO Act.

Later, while giving bail to accused Lalan Kumar Safi, a washerman by profession, in a molestation case, the judge asked him to wash the clothes of the victim and women of his village for free for six months and submit a compliance certificate from the village mukhia (head) or any other respectable public servant.

In August 2021, the judge granted bail to accused Nitish Kumar, who was arrested under the stringent 2016 prohibition laws, on the condition that he must offer free education to five underprivileged children of his village for three months, which their parents would certify.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 7:25:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/attack-on-judge-independence-of-judiciary-in-jeopardy-says-patna-high-court/article37573689.ece

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