Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi Wednesday allowed the CBI to lodge a case against serving Allahabad High Court judge Justice S N Shukla in a corruption case pertaining to favours to a private medical college for MBBS admission. This is for the first time that a CJI has granted permission to register a case against a sitting high court judge, PTI quoted a Supreme Court official as saying.
The investigation agency had written a letter to Justice Gogoi stating that a preliminary inquiry was registered by it against the judge and others on the advice of former CJI Dipak Misra. The CBI also placed a brief note on the preliminary inquiry along with the chronological chart while seeking permission for initiating a regular case for investigation.
“I have considered the note appended to your letter on the above subject. In the facts and circumstances of the case, I am constrained to grant permission to initiate a regular case for investigation as sought for in your letter,” CJI Gogoi told the CBI after taking note of the letter and documents.
A month ago, the CJI also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate a motion for removal of Justice Shukla after an in-house panel found him guilty of misconduct.
Justice Shukla, who was heading a division bench in the high court, had allegedly defied the categorical restraint orders passed by the CJI-led bench of the apex court last year to permit private colleges to admit students for the 2017-18 academic session.
In January 2018, a three-judge in-house committee, comprising Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee, Sikkim High Court Chief Justice S K Agnihotri and Madhya Pradesh High Court’s Justice PK Jaiswal, had concluded there was sufficient substance in the allegations against Justice Shukla and that the aberrations were serious enough to call for initiation of proceedings for his removal.
Following the report, the then CJI Dipak Misra, in accordance with the relevant in-house procedure, had advised Justice Shukla to either resign or seek voluntary retirement forthwith. But Shuka refused to resign, after which, Misra had asked the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court to withdraw judicial work from him with immediate effect.
The CJI’s decision to allow the probe agency to proceed against a serving high court judge assumes significance in wake of its earlier direction in the K Veeraswamy case in which it had prevented any investigating agency from lodging an FIR without first showing the evidence to the CJI for permission to investigate the judge