Judicial officer can’t receive judge during court hours

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi: Concerned at officious behaviour on the part of judicial officers in the subordinate judiciary, Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan has written to the Chief Justices of High Courts, urging that a 12-point Code of Conduct be strictly followed by judicial officers during the visit of the Chief Justice/High Court judges.

The letter assumes significance in the context of the Supreme Court examining petitions in the Ghaziabad judges scam, allegedly involving judicial officers, High Court judges and a Supreme Court judge.

No meeting during court hours

The code says: No judicial officer shall receive, see off or visit the Chief Justice/judges during court hours; a senior non-judicial administrative officer will receive and see off the Chief Justice/judges during their official visits and provide protocol services as per norms; if the visiting Chief Justice/judge of the High Court wants to hold a meeting or address judicial officers, it will be done either before or after court hours; if the Chief Justice/judge wants to call a judicial officer for official purposes, he will be called either before or after court hours; no judicial officer will visit the Chief Justice/judges unless called for official purposes; no arrangement for any private visit of the Chief Justice/judges shall be made by any judicial officer; if arrangements in connection with their official visit are required to be made by the District Judge or the Chief Judicial Magistrate, all bills shall be raised by him and payment made directly by the High Court to the extent permitted under rules; personal funds will not be used by any judicial officer for this purpose; no judicial officer shall arrange for any private trip including an excursion or visit to a religious place; no judicial officer will arrange for hotel, food or transport for the visiting Chief Justice/judges, their staff members and security personnel; no judicial officer or court servant will offer them any gift or hospitality to the Chief Justice/judges; no function will be organised by the judicial officer during their visit except official functions organised on written directions and at the cost of the government.

Any violation will be considered gross misconduct, rendering the judicial officer concerned liable to strict disciplinary action.

The Chief Justice of India has asked the Chief Justices of the High Courts to place the code before the full court for consideration and adoption.

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