An ongoing probe against two Orissa High Court judges has been stalled because the name of a senior Supreme Court judge cropped up all of a sudden. This news was reported in DNA today.
Flummoxed at this development, the three member panel of high court judges, headed by Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice SJ Vazifdar and also including Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice KM Joseph and currently Supreme Court Justice S Abdul Nazeer (who was earlier with the Karnataka High Court), has written to CJI Justice Khehar seeking his guidance. The panel has stated that despite allegations of the Supreme Court judge’s proximity to these two judges, it is unable to proceed because its mandate excluded probing charges against a sitting Supreme Court judge.
The in-house panel, set up by former CJI Justice T.S. Thakur, is probing two sitting judges of the Orissa High Court- Justices Indrajit Mohanty and Sangam Kumar Sahoo for alleged abuse of power and position during their tenure.
Justice Mohanty is alleged to have furthered his personal business interests by using his office of a high court judge, while Justice Sahoo is alleged to have spent more than the sanctioned amount for doing up his official residence.
DNA, considering the sensitivity of the matter, has kept the Supreme Court judge’s name under wraps, despite getting confirmation from highly placed sources. This news however points to a sitting judge who was previously from the Orissa High Court.
With the panel having expressed its inability to go ahead, it remains to be seen what steps CJI Khehar would take. Would he expand the panel’s mandate, or direct that a separate but effective and appropriate procedure be adopted?