The Uttarakhand High Court quashed a suspension order against the District and Sessions Judge, Chamoli who was accused of obtaining call details of a female employee. It said that the initiation of disciplinary proceedings was defective.

The accused Judge had filed a writ petition for quashing the suspension order passed by the High Court by which he was placed under suspension and chargesheet along with entire disciplinary proceedings initiated and pending against him pursuant to an anonymous and undated complaint not supported by a duly sworn affidavit of the complainant.

A Division Bench of Justice Rakesh Thapliyal and Justice Pankaj Purohit said, “From perusal of the record, it transpires that the typed complaint was undated, unsigned and not supported by any affidavit wherein the name of the petitioner was written by hand in Hindi, was never placed after the registration before the Administrative Judge. Thus, the very initiation of the disciplinary proceeding was defective and the same would go to the root of the entire controversy and the same cannot sustain.”

The Bench noted that when the initiation of a certain proceeding is bad and in violation of the prescribed procedure, all subsequent and consequential proceedings would crumble down as that illegality strikes at the very root of the order.

Senior Advocate Rajendra Dobhal appeared for the petitioner while Advocate Navnish Negi appeared for the respondent.

Factual Background -

The accused Judge was posted as District and Sessions Judge, Chamoli and an undated, anonymous complaint, not supported by any affidavit allegedly made by the District Bar Association, Gopeshwar was received by the High Court. The said complaint was sent to the Registrar and subsequently to the Chief Justice of the High Court. The complaint was unsigned in which a pen drive was also annexed and the substance of the complaint was that the evidence was being recorded by the accused Judge against the procedure, in the absence of Presiding Officer and it was alleged tha it was the routine way of recording the evidence in his court.

Hence, an enquiry was conducted and the accused Judge submitted that as the complaint was anonymous and without affidavit, the court should not take cognizance of the same. It was further submitted that since he had stone in his kidney, he has to go for urination and there was a possibility that at that time, no evidence was recorded and he used to direct the recording of the evidence to stop. He apprehended that he was made the victim of a conspiracy due to seniority dispute pending on judicial side before the High Court between him and others. He was, however, placed under suspension vide an order of the Registrar General.

The High Court in the above regard observed, “This Court finds force in the submission made by learned Senior Counsel for the petitioner that since the procedure prescribed under the High Court Vigilance Rules, 2019, as amended, has not been followed, which prescribed a proper mechanism to deal with any complaint, therefore, the entire procedure would be found violated in view of the law laid down in the case of Nazir Ahmad Vs. King Emperor AIR 1936, Privy Council 253(2) which still holds the field.”

The Court further said that when the entire proceeding has crumbled down due to non-observance of the procedure prescribed, and the very initiation of disciplinary enquiry has been found to be not in consonance with the Uttarakhand High Court Vigilance Rules, 2019, all subsequent consequential proceedings also are vitiated and there is nothing left which would allow the disciplinary proceedings to continue.

“In the Uttarakhand High Court Vigilance Rules, 2019, there is no mention anywhere in any of the amendments that the Rules are being notified in supersession of the earlier guidelines and Circular. Resultantly, even as on date, the guidelines issued by Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India, on the basis of which the circular dated 22.12.2014 was issued, still holds the field and the same cannot be by-passed while proceeding in a complaint against the Judicial Officer”, it added.

The Court, therefore, concluded that the entire disciplinary proceeding, which was initiated and pending against the petitioner, cannot sustain and deserves to be quashed and set-aside.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the writ petition and quashed the suspension order, chargesheet, and disciplinary proceedings.

Cause Title- Dhananjay Chaturvedi v. High Court of Uttarakhand


Petitioner: Advocates Piyush Garg and Shubhang Dobhal

Respondent: Advocate Navnish Negi

Click here to read/download the Judgment