A full court meeting of the Patna High Court chaired by Chief Justice Rekha M Doshit, held Saturday, has recommended to the Bihar government that a sub-judge, an ad hoc district and sessions judge and a principal judge be dismissed for engaging in “undesirable activities” last year.
The three judicial officers had allegedly crossed over to Biratnagar in Nepal after the 2013 Republic Day function and were “found with some women during a police raid” at a hotel.
A full-court meeting decision is final in matters of dismissal. The state government is likely to issue dismissal orders for the three officers of the Bihar Judicial Services this week. The three are Komal Ram (then judicial magistrate at Araria and now sub-judge at Nawada court), Jitendra Nath Singh (then additional district and sessions judge at Ara and at present ad hoc district and sessions judge at Ara) and Hari Niwas Gupta (then principal judge at family court, Samastipur, and at present principal judge, family court, at Muzaffarpur).
Though their detention had not been recorded, a Nepali newspaper had carried a report on the alleged incident on January 29, 2013, leading to an internal inquiry by the Patna High Court.
A seven-member standing committee meeting — headed by the chief justice — unanimously recommended the dismissal of the three, on February 5.
Singh said his family was “in a state of shock”. “Though I have not got official communication about the HC full committee recommendation to dismiss me and two others from service, I have heard about it. What can one say when I was not given a chance to tell my side of the story? In my 24-year service, no one could raise a finger on my integrity of character and now my image is sullied in one stroke.”
Singh added that while he had little option but to respect the high court’s decision, he would explore his legal options soon.
Ram maintained his version that he had been in Purnea on the said dates. Gupta was unavailable for comment.
Ram, Singh and Gupta are alleged to have left for Biratnagar after the function at their respective offices on January 26, 2013. They are said to have checked into Metro Guest House and Hotel, near the bus stand of the town.
As per the report carried by Nepali newspaper Udghosh, a Biratnagar police team led by inspector Pradip Singh had conducted raids at the hotel and found the three judges in objectionable position. However, according to the paper, when the police team learnt that the three persons in question were officers of the Bihar Judicial Services, they had been allowed to leave without their detention being recorded.
Earlier, following prima facie findings, Ram, Singh and Gupta had been demoted by the state government.
Investigation by Purnea district judge Sanjay Kumar had traced the location of their mobile phones to near Forbesganj (Araria) along the Indo-Nepal border on 26-27 January, 2013. While Ram claimed that he had been with his family in Purnea on 26-27 January, 2013, the two other judges had said they were present in Nepal on these days.
The Bihar Police said they had also found that the mobile numbers of the judges had been in silent mode between January 26, 2.30 pm, and 11 am, January 27. After 11 am, their mobile phones were seen as operational in India.