All judicial work has been withdrawn from Justice Shri Narayan Shukla of the Allahabad High Court following his indictment by an in-house inquiry committee that probed allegations against the judge in the Medical Council of India (MCI) case. Justice Shukla, The Indian Express has learnt, has proceeded on 90 days leave which was sanctioned by the Governor of Uttar Pradesh over the weekend.
His leave application followed the CJI’s move on the report of the in-house inquiry committee, which contained adverse remarks against the judge for alleged “judicial impropriety” in his judgments in the GCRG Institute of Medical Sciences case.
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This was different from the criminal case of Prasad Education Trust in which CBI had filed an FIR and the CJI had denied CBI the permission to include Justice Shukla’s name in the FIR. But as the two cases involve the same judge and are related under the Medical Council of India (MCI) ban order, the CBI is keen on renewing its application seeking CJI’s permission to file an FIR against Justice Shukla.
In the Supreme Court, both the cases were heard by benches headed by the present CJI.
On Monday, The Indian Express had reported on the findings of the in-house inquiry committee, which comprised Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee, Sikkim High Court Chief Justice S K Agnihotri and Madhya Pradesh High Court’s Justice P K Jaiswal. This committee was formed in December by the CJI to enquire into allegations of judicial impropriety against Justice Shukla made by the Uttar Pradesh Advocate General in the first week of September.
Justice Shukla was under probe for allegations of over-ruling restraint orders passed by the Supreme Court on August 29 to allow GCRG Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, to admit students for the 2017-18 academic year. Justice Shukla had allegedly made hand-written corrections on September 4 to his own bench’s order of September 1 to allow this particular medical college to admit students for the 2017-18 academic session.
On November 23, the Supreme Court had passed a final order in this case stating that the High Court did not show judicial propriety and ordered GCRG Institute of Medical Sciences to pay Rs 10 lakh to each student who had taken admission apart from refunding their fees. A cost of Rs 25 lakh was also imposed by the Supreme Court on the medical college, which had been debarred by the MCI for many deficiencies.
Sources said that no other evidence was presented to the in-house inquiry committee besides the concerned High Court and Supreme Court orders. The terms of reference of the committee were also restricted to the GCRG Institute of Medical Sciences case, and did not include the Prasad Education Trust case where CBI had approached the CJI on September 6 with evidence against Justice Shukla.
The evidence presented to CJI included transcripts of alleged telephone conversations between retired Odisha High Court judge IM Quddusi, middleman Vishwanath Agarwala and BP Yadav of the Prasad Education Trust which had been recorded by the CBI. Extracts from the transcripts were published by The Indian Express on January 16.
The CBI subsequently filed a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) report on September 8 indicting Justice Shukla and others in Prasad Education Trust case. On September 16, the CBI filed an FIR against Qudussi, Yadav, Agarwala and others for allegedly bribing senior public functionaries, but there was no mention of Justice Shukla. Following a 1995 Supreme Court order, filing of FIR against a sitting Supreme Court or High Court judge needs explicit permission of the CJI, which was denied in this case.
Sources told The Indian Express that following the indictment of Justice Shukla by an in-house inquiry in a related case, CBI is considering renewing its application for CJI’s sanction to file an FIR against him in the Prasad Medical Trust case. It is unusual for CBI to renew an application for sanction which has been once denied but sources said that the “material change of facts” involving Justice Shukla will be used by the agency to push its case for sanction.