Something rotten in Allahabad High Court: Supreme Court

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In a strong indictment of the Allahabad High Court, the Supreme Court on Friday observed that “there is something rotten” there and raised serious questions over integrity of several of its judges.

“Something is rotten in the State of Denmark, said Shakespeare in Hamlet, and it can similarly be said that something is rotten in the Allahabad High Court,” said a bench of justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra, adding the high court “really needs some house cleaning.”

The bench also asked the chief justice of the high court to take some strong measures, including recommending “transfers of the incorrigibles.”

It made the observation in a 12-page order, while making the insinuation that several judges of the high court suffer from ‘uncle judge’ syndrome, which refers to judges passing favourable orders for parties represented by lawyers known to them.

The bench flew into a rage while scrapping a single-judge bench order of the Allahabad High Court which had asked a Bahraich-based Waqf Board to temporarily allot a portion of its land in May-June this year to the proprietors of a circus for its show during an annual fair.

“The faith of the common man in the country is shaken to the core by such shocking and outrageous orders,” said justices Katju and Mishra.

“We are sorry to say but a lot of complaints are coming against certain judges of the Allahabad High Court relating to their integrity,” said the bench, without disclosing the contents of complaints.

Referring to the rampant ‘uncle judge’ syndrome allegedly plaguing the high court, the apex court bench said, “Some judges have their kith and kin practising in the same court.

“And within a few years of starting practice, the sons or relations of the judge become multi-millionaires, have huge bank balances, luxurious cars, huge houses and are enjoying a luxurious life.

“This is a far cry from the days when the sons and other relatives of judges could derive no benefit from their relationship and had to struggle at the bar like any other lawyer,” the bench added.

The judge, however, sought to add a note of caution, saying, “We do not mean to say that all lawyers who have close relations as judges of the high court are misusing that relationship.

“Some are scrupulously taking care that no one should lift a finger on this account. However, others are shamelessly taking advantage of this relationship,” the judges observed.

“There are other serious complaints also against some judges of the high court,” they said in a joint order, adding, “The Allahabad High Court really needs some house cleaning (both Allahabad and Lucknow Bench).

“We request the chief justice of the high court to do the needful, even if he has to take some strong measures, including recommending transfers of the incorrigibles,” justices Katju and Mishra said and also asked the apex court treasury to send their order to the Allahabad High Court chief justice to “do the needful.”

The judges had flown off the handle, after detecting some legal errors in the high court order, which included absence of territorial jurisdiction to pass it as Bahraich falls under the jurisdiction of the high court’s Lucknow bench.

The high court had also granted full legal relief to the circus proprietor in an interim order, which is barred in judicial proceedings, the apex court bench pointed out.

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This post was submitted by somya harsh.

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