Two members of a panel formed by the Chhattisgarh Chief Justice to review judicial rules in subordinate courts have accusing the committee’s chairperson, High Court judge (retired) S C Vyas, for “acting arbitrarily” and misappropriating funds.
The duo have made the allegations in scathing letters to the Chief Justice, which have been accessed by The Indian Express.
While retired judge Surendra Tiwari has urged that Vyas needs to be strongly “reprimanded,” and “ordered” to refund the entire amount, another panel member retired judge L D Deoras has urged the Chief Justice to investigate the matter and register a forgery FIR against Vyas under Section 420 of IPC.
The state Chief Justice had constituted the committee in 2013 to redraft judicial rules in subordinate courts, most of which were made during the British period, in the light of present situations.
Last November, Vyas submitted the panel’s report in the matter to the High Court. Nearly a year later, on September 14, Tiwari wrote a letter contending that the report should be trashed as Vyas had not consulted him and Deoras.
“The submitted report cannot be said to be submitted on behalf of the sub-committee because both the members were kept aloof from draft/report preparing process,” Tiwari wrote.
He also accused Vyas of misappropriating Rs 4 lakh sanctioned for the committee’s expenses, including “payment of honorarium to the chairman and members of the sub-committee and secretarial assistance etc”.
According to Tiwari, Vyas also submitted a “utilization certificate” to the registrar general. Stating that no honorarium was paid to him and Deoras, Tiwari challenged the veracity of this certificate and wrote: “Neither any voucher in support of the above mentioned expenditure nor any account showing details of expenditure on each item has been submitted so far.”
The letter added: “It is crystal clear… that the chairman acted arbitrarily and misused his powers… he needs to be strongly condemned and reprimanded.”
Vyas, on his part, said the other two panel members were not paid because did not perform any duty. “None of the two members ever contacted me… I once called Deoras on my own. Tiwari never called me…I wrote to the HC… I am doing the entire work alone,” Vyas said.
Explaining the utillisation of funds, he said: “I did the entire work on my own with the help of my ministerial staff. The funds went to them and for the stationery, computer etc. If the two members had worked, they would have received the honorarium.”
Responding to Vyas’s claims, Tiwari said: “It is the responsibility of the chairperson to call meetings…Perhaps he believes that since we were district judges and he was a high court judge, we were inferior.”