In a first, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has allowed the CBI to file a corruption case against a high court judge, Justice SN Shukla. Justice Shukla, an Allahabad High Court judge, was found guilty by a panel of Judges of favours to a private medical college in 2017.
This is the first time that a sitting judge will be investigated by the CBI or Central Bureau of Investigation. A case cannot be filed against a sitting judge without the permission of the Chief Justice of India.
The investigating agency had written to the Chief Justice for permission to investigate the High Court judge.
Justice Shukla was asked to resign or take voluntary retirement by the previous Chief Justice, Dipak Misra.
But Justice Shukla declined and judicial work was withdrawn from him in 2018.
Chief Justice Gogoi last month also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a motion in parliament to impeach Justice Shukla.
On a complaint against Justice Shukla in 2017, then Chief Justice Misra had set up a panel of judges to investigate whether the accused judge granted favours to a medical college by extending the deadline for admission of students in violation of a Supreme Court order.
There were allegations that Justice Shukla had made handwritten changes in his own bench’s order, days after the Supreme Court barred the High Court from allowing the Lucknow-based GCRG Institute of Medical Science to admit students for the 2017-18 session. The medical college was among those banned by the government from admitting students after a report on their substandard infrastructure and failure to meet several criteria.
The revised High Court order was struck down by the Supreme Court after an appeal by the Medical Council of India.
The judges’ panel concluded that there was sufficient substance in the allegations against Justice Shukla and he had “disgraced the values of judicial life, acted in a manner unbecoming of a judge to lower the majesty, dignity and credibility of his office”.
The aberrations, said the panel, were “serious enough” for his removal.