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SC keeps lid on sex scam report

New Delhi, May 9: The Supreme Court today declined to make public a judges’ inquiry report exonerating three Karnataka high court judges in the Mysore sex scandal.

A division bench of Justices S. Rajendra Babu and G.P. Mathur dismissed the petition of Indira Jaisingh, a designated senior advocate of the apex court, seeking to make the report public and calling for an inquiry by an independent investigating agency.

According to the bench, after reports came out that the three high court judges were involved in the sex scandal, the Chief Justice of India had set up an inquiry committee comprising three judges. As their report did not find any evidence against the three high court judges, they were exonerated. A communication or report or inquiry proceedings of this nature, the bench said, could not be made public or made the subject of a writ petition.

The bench also said that “the claim for a direction to any professional and independent investigating agency to conduct an inquiry into the said alleged incident cannot be accepted because appropriate course for the petitioner would be to approach the concerned authorities as enumerated in Article 217 of the Constitution”.

Article 217 stipulates the procedure for removal of a high court or Supreme Court judge from office, which is through an impeachment motion in Parliament. First, a complaint has to be lodged with the President, followed by the motion moved in both Houses of Parliament.

“If the petitioner (Jaisingh) can substantiate that any criminal offence has been committed by any of the judges mentioned in the course of the petition, appropriate complaint can be lodged before a competent authority for taking action. There is hardly any need for this court to give any such direction in the matter,” the bench said.

The apex court emphasised that not even the Chief Justice of India could take any action against an errant judge as he can be removed from office only through impeachment in Parliament.

“In the hierarchy of the courts, the Supreme Court does not have any disciplinary control over the high court judges,” the court said, adding that the Chief Justice of India has less disciplinary control.

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