The Supreme Court Friday issued notice to the Registrar-General of the Allahabad High Court, the CBI and the Uttar Pradesh government on a plea by former CBI Special Judge Shyam Lal, who had convicted Nupur and Rajesh Talwar in the Arushi-Hemraj murder case, seeking expunction of some “adverse comments/strictures” made by the High Court “against” him while acquitting the accused in the case.
The notice was issued by a bench of Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice R Banumathi.
The petition contended that “the strictures passed against the petitioner (Lal) by one of the Hon’ble Judges of the High Court constituting the Division Bench, in its judgment dated 12.10.2017, are neither warranted nor are in conformity with the settled law as propounded by this Hon’ble Court.” It added, “The petitioner is not aggrieved against the judgment and order of the acquittal, but he is aggrieved by the observations made by the (High Court judge) Hon’ble Arvind Kumar Mishra-I, J. in his separate concurring judgment dated 12.10.2017.”
The former judge, who retired on November 30, 2013, said he had an “unblemished service career” spanning 28 years, and added that “the strictures passed against the petitioner are ultimately going to affect permanently his reputation as an impartial and transparent judge”.
As CBI Special Judge, anti-corruption, in Ghaziabad, Lal had convicted and sentenced the Talwars in November 2013 for the murder of their daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj. Fourteen-year-old Aarushi was found dead in the bedroom of their house in Noida on May 16, 2008, while Hemraj was found dead on their rooftop a day later.
On appeal, an Allahabad HC Division Bench set aside the conviction. Lal contended in his plea that he had tried important cases such as the one against former UP Chief Secretary Neera Yadav, whom he found guilty of corruption charges; and Surinder Koli, whom he awarded death penalty in the Nithari killings case.
“While allowing criminal appeals (in the Aarushi case), no adverse comments have been made against the petitioner in the main judgment, but the second Hon’ble Judge in his concurring judgment has made certain adverse remarks, which seriously affect the reputation of the petitioner…” he said, adding that “the substantial question of law that arises for consideration by this Hon’ble Court is as to whether in the facts and circumstances of the case, one of the Hon’ble Judges of the High Court constituting the Division Bench was justified in passing disparaging remarks, making unwarranted comments and criticism against the Petitioner in its judgment and order dated 12.10.2017?”