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Three days after the Patna High Court withdrew all judicial work from Justice Rakesh Kumar over his controversial order about alleged corruption within the ranks of the Judiciary, the Chief Justice of the High Court has now reassigned work to him.
As per the notice issued yesterday, Justice Rakesh Kumar will sit in Court no. 13 on September 2 from 10.30 am up until lunchtime to hear service matters. From 2.15pm, he will be part of a Division Bench alongside Justice Anjani Kumar Sharan to hear matters relating to Anganwadi, Direct and Indirect Taxation and State Taxation with MV Taxation and MA Taxation.
On August 29, Patna High Court had withdrawn all judicial work from Justice Rakesh Kumar, after he had passed a scathing order on August 28 highlighting the state of corruption in the judicial system.
On August 28, 2019, Justice Rakesh Kumar had taken up a matter related to anticipatory bail plea filed by former IAS officer KP Ramaiah in connection with the multi-crore Bihar Mahadalit Vikas Mission fund scam. It was taken up by despite the fact that it had already been disposed of in March 2018.
He had then proceeded to direct a CBI probe into the matter while also setting out various instances pointing to alleged wrongdoings by the judiciary.
In his 20-page order, Justice Kumar had said,
“In normal course, I would not have passed such order, but since last few years, this Court is taking notice of the fact that in Patna Judgeship, things are not going in its right perspective.”
This order of Justice Kumar was stayed by an 11-Judge Bench of the High Court on August 29 wherein the Bench observed that the “uncharity unleashed” by Justice Kumar appeared to be an outcome of “personal prejudice” as the “utterances and overtures” were “full of anguish tending towards vengeance” and not “reform“.
“A sudden leap in the sky through an approach of gaining yellow page fame appears to be one of the motives behind the pronouncement“, the Bench said.
Clarifying that they should not be misunderstood to be insensitive or averse to the concerns expressed by Justice Rakesh Kumar, the 11-Judge Bench remarked that it was their “onerous duty” to not allow any irreparable damage by an individual acting on private prejudices.
“..we believe that in the discharge of our onerous duty to live and stand by the oath that we have taken, we should not hesitate in taking prompt action and allow the recurrence of any such irreparable damaging judicial acts so as to undermine the whole judicial system on the strength of an individual’s private prejudices founded on his perception of past history and relentless obsessions that appear to have been expressed in a language that is not only brine, but is malicious, contumacious, demeaning and completely insensitive to the living and dead alike.”
The Bench also opined that the order was “not akin to judicial conduct of a constitutional functionary” as it went “to the extent of imputing personal motives and casting insinuations on all those who are past or even the present.”
The 11-Judge Bench comprising the Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justices Vikash Jain, Chakradhari Sharan Singh, Prabhat Kumar Jha, Anjana Mishra, Ashutosh Kumar, Birendra Kumar, Vinod Kumar Sinha, Anil Kumar Upadhyay, Rajeev Ranjan Prasad and Sanjay Kumar was constituted suo motu after taking judicial notice of the print and social media publications of the content of the order passed by Justice Rakesh Kumar.
Further, an administrative order had also been passed by Patna High Court Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi on August 29 withdrawing all judicial work from Justice Kumar.
[Read the notice reassigning judicial work to Justice Rakesh Kumar]