Patna High Court on Wednesday took strong exception to the misconduct of a lower court judge for allegedly pronouncing a judgment despite its restraint order.
The court also referred the matter to the standing committee of the high court for necessary action against judicial officer Pandey Rishi Kant Sinha, former sub-judge VII, Bhagalpur, and sub-judge-I-cum-additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM), Kishanganj. Pandey, the judicial officer, had pronounced the judgment in a money suit in spite of a high court order restraining him from doing so.
“This court does come to a considered opinion that it is a case of gross misconduct on the part of Pandey Rishi Kant Sinha, the ex-sub-judge VII, Bhagalpur and now sub-judge-I-cum-ACJM, civil court, Kishanganj. In the opinion of this court, it is a matter, which is required to be looked into on the administrative side, by bringing to the notice of honourable standing committee,” a bench of Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi said.
The standing committee, which is headed by the chief justice, normally takes a decision on complaints against the judicial officers, petitioner’s counsel Deepak Kumar Sinha said, adding that in this case, the standing committee, comprising high court judges, may initiate necessary action against the judicial officer following the judicial order.
“This court finds it strange and unacceptable position taken by the said sub-judge that after so many years in judicial service, he does not understand what a pre-emptory order means,” the bench said, after going through the showcause reply given by the officer wherein he justified his stand.
To apprise all such recalcitrant officers as to what they are required to do when an order of stay is passed by the high court or superior court, the bench reproduced a portion of the earlier judgment which said: “It is well-settled that an order by a superior court staying further proceedings in the court below becomes operative the moment it is made and not after its communication to the sub-ordinate court.”
It further added: “Where, therefore, an order is made by the superior court, be it the appellate court or the revisional court, staying further proceedings in a case in the court below, subordinate to it, it suspends the power of the lower court to continue the proceedings in such a case. If, in spite of the stay of further proceedings in the court below by the superior court, some order is passed by the court below, in violation of the stay order in operation, such an order is without jurisdiction.”
The case pertains to a money suit, which was decided by Pandey Rishi Kant Sinha, the then sub-judge VII at Bhagalpur civil court, on May 11, 2011 despite the fact that the high court had stayed the order on April 7, 2009. The high court had restrained the subordinate judge from delivering the judgment till the pendency of the civil revision application before it (high court).
The high court passed the stay order on a civil revision application filed by one Suresh Modi challenging the lower court’s order rejecting his case to be impleaded as party to the money suit. Bishnu Kumar had filed the suit claiming himself to be direct successor and beneficiary of the amount deposited in the name of Sona Devi in the State Bank of India in Bhagalpur but he had not made Modi a party to the case.
Sona Devi, who had no child during her lifetime, executed her last free will in favour of Modi in August, 2003 out of love and affection as well as being happy with the service rendered by Modi to her, the petitioner’s counsel Sinha said.
The bench, on whose direction the petitioner converted the revision application into a writ petition, quashed the money suit.