The controversy generated by observations of Kerala High Court Judge K Hema,in her order granting bail to the arrested in the Abhaya murder case,has emerged into a spar between her and Justice R Basant,another high court judge who has supervisory powers in the Abhaya case.
While hearing another case on Monday,Hema countered the observations of Basant,who had last week said that the bail court (read Hemas bench) should not have commented on the contestable points in the case diary. The right to make observations regarding the case was vested with the writ court. The bail court should not usurp that right,he said.
In what seems as her reply to Basant,Hema on Monday said only the Supreme Court has the right to evaluate the verdict in the bail application. As per Section 220 of the Constitution,all the benches in the court,including the bail court,have equal rights. The verdict on the bail applications was pronounced after going through the case diary. The controversy has upset the legal fraternity.
Justice Hema was legally correct that only the Supreme Court can evaluate her verdict in the Abhaya case. A judge has every right to study the case diary even at the stage of considering bail application. At the same time,the bail court should maintain utmost restrain while making observations, said noted lawyer Kaleeswaram Raj.
According to a senior judge in the HC,both judges have violated judicial discipline. Their mutually attacking remarks have shown the judiciary in poor light.