REPORTABLE
                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
                         CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
                    WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO. 792 OF 2014
Additional District and Sessions Judge 'X'         ... Petitioner
                                   versus
Registrar General,
High Court of Madhya Pradesh and others      ... Respondents
                               J U D G M E N T
Jagdish Singh Khehar, J.
1.          The present writ petition has been filed by a former  Additional
District and Sessions Judge of the Madhya Pradesh Higher  Judicial  Service.
The factual narration in  the  writ  petition  incorporates  allegations  of
sexual harassment aimed at the petitioner, at the behest of a sitting  Judge
of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh (herein after referred to as, 'the  High
Court'),  who  has  been  impleaded  by  name  as  respondent   no.3.    The
authenticity of the allegations levelled by the petitioner, which have  been
expressly disputed by respondent no.3, would stand  affirmed  or  repudiated
only after culmination of due process.  Such being the  sensitivity  of  the
matter, it would be inappropriate to disclose the  identity  either  of  the
petitioner or of  respondent  no.3.   In  the  title  of  the  present  writ
petition, as also in its contents, the  petitioner  has  been  described  as
Additional District and Sessions  Judge  'X'.  We  shall  refer  to  her  as
Addl.D&SJ 'X'.  This would help to preserve the dignity of  the  petitioner.
Insofar as respondent no.3 is concerned, since he is a sitting Judge of  the
High Court, his reputation deserves a similar protection, we shall refer  to
him as Justice 'A'.
2.          The  averments  made  in  the  writ  petition  reveal  that  the
petitioner having practiced as an  advocate  for  fifteen  years  at  Delhi,
applied for appointment by way of direct recruitment to the  Madhya  Pradesh
Higher Judicial Service.  On the culmination of the  process  of  selection,
the merit list of the selected candidates was released  on  22.3.2011.   The
petitioner  was  placed  at  serial  no.2  in  the  merit  list.   She   was
accordingly appointed as District Judge (entry level) by the Madhya  Pradesh
State Legal and Legislative Works Department,  vide  order  dated  8.7.2011.
She was deputed for training on  30.7.2011  and  was  posted  as  Additional
District and Sessions Judge, Gwalior.
3.          The contents of the writ  petition  are  systematically  divided
into various components.  In the  first  part  of  the  writ  petition,  the
petitioner endeavours to demonstrate  her  efficient  discharge  of  duties.
For this, reliance has been placed  on  an  order  passed  by  the  Sessions
Judge, Gwalior dated 9.10.2012 (while exercising powers under  Sections  408
and 409 of  the  Criminal  Procedure  Code),  whereby  all  sessions  cases,
criminal appeals, criminal revisions and miscellaneous criminal  cases  etc.
pending in the Court of the 2nd Additional Sessions Judge, were  transferred
to the Court of the petitioner.  Relying on  the  above  order,  it  is  the
petitioner's contention,  that  her  superiors  immediately  recognized  her
professional caliber, and afforded her  an  opportunity  to  deal  with  the
important and sensitive cases.  On 23.1.2013, the Sessions  Judge,  Gwalior,
nominated the petitioner for regular hearing  and  expeditious  disposal  of
heinous and sensational cases involving offences of  rape,  gang-rape,  rape
with murder etc. under the Indian Penal Code.  It is  further  brought  out,
that on 9.4.2013, the petitioner was  appointed  as  the  President  of  the
Vishaka Committee (in compliance with the directions issued  by  this  Court
in Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan, (1997) 6 SCC 241),  by  the  District  and
Sessions Judge, Gwalior.  It is also pointed out, that the  High  Court  (in
exercise of the power vested in it under Section 6(2) of the Madhya  Pradesh
Dekaiti Aur Vyapaharan Prabhavit  Kshotra  Adhiniyam,  1981)  appointed  the
petitioner as "Special Judge" for dealing with matters falling in a  defined
area within the territorial jurisdiction of Gwalior Sessions  Division.   It
is pointed out that  again,  through  a  notification  dated  10.5.2013  (in
exercise  of  the  power  under  Section  9(3)  of  the  Code  of   Criminal
Procedure), the High Court designated the petitioner as "Presiding  Officer"
for speedy trial of offences of rape, gang-rape, murder with rape and  other
related offences.   It  is  also  the  case  of  the  petitioner,  that  the
petitioner's performance came to be evaluated by the District  and  Sessions
Judge in a report dated 5.1.2013.   It  is  submitted,  that  thereafter  in
April 2013, the District Judge  (Inspection  and  Vigilance)  inspected  the
civil and criminal records and assessed the petitioner's performance.
4.           The  factual  position  with  respect  to  the  selection   and
appointment of the petitioner has not been  disputed.   The  fact  that  the
petitioner was assigned different responsibilities  from  time  to  time  is
also acknowledged.  It is not  necessary  for  us  to  record  the  personal
assessment made by the petitioner on the basis of the afore-stated  reports,
suffice it to state that in the reply filed before this Court on  behalf  of
the  Registrar  General  of  the  High  Court  (respondent  no.1),   it   is
acknowledged that even though her disposal was assessed as  -  average,  her
overall performance was graded as - very good 'B'.  It was  further  pointed
out, that even though the petitioner was advised to  improve  inter-personal
relationship and team work skills, her overall assessment was  evaluated  as
- 'very good'.
5(i). The next component of the writ petition is devoted to the  allegations
levelled against respondent no.3 - Justice 'A'.  It  is  asserted,  that  on
8/9-12-2013, the wife of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Gwalior called,  the
petitioner on her land line.  During  her  conversation,  she  informed  the
petitioner,  that  respondent  no.3  -  Justice  'A',  was  eager  that  the
petitioner should perform a dance on an  "item-song",  on  the  occasion  of
ladies sangeet (on 10.12.2013) during the festivities of the  25th  marriage
anniversary  of  respondent  no.3.   It  is  also  the  assertion   of   the
petitioner, that she politely  refused  the  invitation  for  10.12.2013  by
giving out that she had prior commitments, for that date.   It is sought  to
be asserted by the petitioner, that for reasons of  official  protocol,  she
felt  compelled  to  attend  the  main  marriage  anniversary   celebrations
scheduled for 11.12.2013.  It is pointed out, that she ventured to do so  in
the company of her two daughters.  It is alleged by the petitioner  that  on
11.12.2013, respondent no.3 - Justice 'A' came close to  her  and  whispered
in her ear,  that  he  missed  the  opportunity  of  viewing  her  sexy  and
beautiful figure dancing on the floor.  It is  the  petitioner's  assertion,
that respondent No.3 also told the petitioner, that he wished he  could  see
her dancing.  The petitioner claims that  she  was  appalled  by  the  above
behaviour of respondent no.3, and therefore, she left the party  along  with
her two daughters, with tears in her eyes.
(ii). The factual position narrated  above,  pertaining  to  the  telephonic
conversation with the wife of the Chief  Judicial  Magistrate,  Gwalior  has
been denied by respondent no.3.  For this, respondent no.3 has appended  the
affidavit of the wife of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Gwalior as  Annexure
R-16 with his  counter-affidavit.   In  her  affidavit,  it  is  inter  alia
asserted, that she had neither called the  petitioner  on  8/9-12-2013,  nor
had she told the petitioner that respondent no.3 - Justice 'A' was eager  to
watch her perform a dance on an "item-song".  The other  assertions  at  the
behest of the petitioner, narrated in  the  foregoing  paragraph  have  also
been denied by respondent no.3.  It is the pointed contention of  respondent
no.3, that there was no occasion for him to  personally  interact  with  the
petitioner on 11.12.2013.  It is also  the  assertion  of  respondent  no.3,
that the function of 11.12.2013 was  video-graphed,  which  shows  that  the
petitioner enjoyed her dinner and was seen talking to other invitees.
(iii).       Addl.D&SJ  'X'  has  also  asserted,  that  in  January   2014,
respondent no.3 had sent messages to her  through  the  District  Registrar,
asking the petitioner to meet him, at his residence.  It is  the  contention
of the petitioner, that knowing that respondent no.3 - Justice  'A'  usually
lived alone, she avoided going to his residence.  As per  the  understanding
of the petitioner, thereafter respondent  no.3  started  showing  abnormally
high interest in  her  work,  and  also  started  making  sexually  coloured
remarks, at her.  Illustratively, referring to the occasion  of  a  marriage
party of a judicial officer on 22.2.2014, it is  asserted,  that  respondent
no.3 in the presence of the petitioner's 16 years  old  daughter,  told  her
that "although your work is very good, but you are far more  beautiful  than
your work".  It is contended, that he further went on to say,  that  looking
at the petitioner, one does not desire, even to  blink  ones  eyes.   It  is
averred, that the above remarks were made, while respondent no.3  -  Justice
'A' sized up the petitioner from head to  toe.    It  is  also  the  pointed
assertion  of  the  petitioner,  that  while  making  the   above   remarks,
respondent no.3 - Justice 'A', put his hand on her back.  It  is  sought  to
be asserted, that the above behaviour of respondent no.3,  discomforted  the
petitioner as well as her daughter.   It  is  also  pointed  out,  that  the
petitioner  indicated  to  respondent  no.3,  that  his  advances  were  not
welcome.  Thereafter, the petitioner  along  with  her  daughter,  left  the
marriage party.
(iv). The factual position as recorded in the foregoing paragraph  has  been
denied by respondent no.3 in the counter-affidavit  filed  by  him.   It  is
also asserted, that respondent no.3 did not even  meet  the  petitioner,  at
the aforesaid marriage party.  It is sought to be asserted in  the  counter-
affidavit filed on behalf of respondent no.3, that he is  in  possession  of
the videography of the marriage function in question, which can be  produced
by him.
(v).  Another instance referred to by the petitioner in the  writ  petition,
relates to a farewell party organized by  the  District  Judiciary,  on  the
occasion of the retirement of a Judge from the  Gwalior  Sessions  Division.
It is asserted, that all sitting Judges of the Gwalior  Bench  of  the  High
Court, had been invited.   On  the  said  occasion,  it  is  asserted,  that
respondent no.3 - Justice 'A', continuously stared at the  petitioner.   The
petitioner claims, that sensing the attitude of respondent  no.3  and  given
his past conduct, the petitioner left the farewell party  before  respondent
no.3 could make any advances at her.
6.          In the counter-affidavit filed on  behalf  of  respondent  no.3,
the facts narrated in the foregoing paragraph have  been  expressly  denied.
It has been asserted, that respondent no.3 had never  inter-acted  with  the
petitioner personally, except when the petitioner  had  herself  made  three
calls to him for her own problems.
7(i). The next component of the narration in the writ  petition  deals  with
the consequences which the petitioner had to suffer for  not  responding  to
respondent  no.3  -  Justice  A's  advances.   First  and  foremost,  it  is
asserted, that respondent no.3 started subjecting the petitioner to  intense
surveillance and harassment, in his  capacity  as  Administrative  Judge  of
Sessions Division, Gwalior from April 2014 onwards. It  is  submitted,  that
the aforesaid surveillance/harassment was effectuated through  the  District
Judge, the District Judge (Inspection), and the District Registrar.   It  is
pointed out, that the District Judge and  the  District  Judge  (Inspection)
visited the petitioner's court room with unusual frequency.   Sometimes,  on
an hourly basis.  At times, within a few minutes  of  her  commencing  court
work.  Sometimes, minutes after her  rising  for  lunch.   At  other  times,
minutes after her resuming court work  after  lunch.   And  also  after  the
petitioner had risen at the end of the day's work.   It  is  also  asserted,
that the District Judge,  Gwalior  would  depute  his  staff  to  check  the
petitioner during court working hours.  On certain occasions, this  happened
even during in-camera trials.  When  deputed  by  the  District  Judge,  his
staff, at times, would even snatch board-diaries of  cases  pending  in  her
court. It is the petitioner's contention, that no fault could ever be  found
insofar  as  the  discharge  of  duties  and  the  responsibilities  of  the
petitioner were concerned.  It is the contention  of  the  petitioner,  that
all these inspections were not carried, for the purpose  contemplated  under
the Madhya Pradesh Rules  (Criminal)  Inspection  of  Criminal  Courts  (for
short, 'the Rules').  Relying on Rule 703 of  the  Rules,  it  is  asserted,
that these actions were only for harassing the petitioner.
(ii). In the  context  of  harassment,  it  is  also  averred  in  the  writ
petition, that the petitioner availed casual leave in May 2014, to attend  a
family event in New Delhi.  During the above leave  period,  a  stenographer
attached to the petitioner's court, was posted elsewhere for a full day,  on
the instructions of the District Judge.  It is pointed out,  that  this  was
done despite the express  request  made  by  the  petitioner  to  the  Court
Manager, that the concerned stenographer  had  to  type  several  judgments,
which the  petitioner  had  dictated,  before  proceeding  on  leave.   Even
otherwise, it is pointed out, that according to the orders of  the  District
Judge (dated 25.4.2014), such posting is permissible only for  half  a  day.
On account of the above  interference  in  the  discharge  of  her  official
functioning, the petitioner addressed a complaint  dated  12.5.2014  to  the
District Judge against the Court Manager.  In her complaint, the  petitioner
also highlighted the fact that the Court Manager usually refused to  provide
alternative staff to the petitioner, when staff attached to  the  petitioner
was on leave.  According  to  the  petitioner,  rather  than  taking  action
against the Court Manager, the District Registrar issued  a  notice  to  the
concerned stenographer, asking him to show cause why he  had  not  disclosed
the extent of pending dictation work, with  reference  to  the  petitioner's
court.  The concerned stenographer was  asked  to  file  his  reply,  within
three days.  It  is  averred,  that  the  petitioner  again  approached  the
District Judge on the above issue. Rather than appreciating the  predicament
of the petitioner, the District Judge informed the petitioner, that  if  she
said anything, he would spoil her confidential report.  It is also  averred,
that  the  District  Judge  advised  her  to  make  a   complaint   to   the
Administrative Judge (respondent no.3) if  she  had  any  problem  with  the
system.  According to the petitioner,  given  aforesaid  circumstances,  she
contacted respondent no.3 - Justice 'A' on his mobile  phone  on  30.5.2014.
Respondent no.3, it is averred, informed her, that he  could  not  speak  to
her as he was not in station.
(iii).      Another instance of harassment and victimization pointed out  by
the petitioner emerges  from  the  fact,  that  the  peon  provided  to  the
petitioner at her residence was diagnosed with a  likelihood  of  cancer  on
12.5.2014.  The concerned  peon  sought  leave  for  treatment,  at  Mumbai.
Despite  several  oral  requests,  no  substitute  was   provided   to   the
petitioner.  Therefore, on 20.5.2014, the petitioner sent a  letter  to  the
District Judge, Gwalior, requesting him to provide a peon at her  residence,
out of the surplus staff.  Even though the  petitioner  was  entitled  to  a
full time peon at her residence,  on  22.5.2014,  the  District  Judge  made
provision for a temporary peon for two hours (from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.).
(iv). In order to further demonstrate  victimization,  it  is  pointed  out,
that the  petitioner  was  suddenly  and  unceremoniously  transferred  mid-
session on 8.7.2014.  It is further pointed out, that general transfers  are
made every year, in March/April.  It is the case  of  the  petitioner,  that
when annual general transfers were made in  2014,  the  petitioner  had  not
completed the  stipulated  tenure  of  service,  and  accordingly,  was  not
subjected to transfer.  Mid-session transfer, according to  the  petitioner,
is almost impermissible, and as such is  extremely  rare,  and  is  effected
only for compelling reasons.  In  order  to  demonstrate  the  assertion  of
victimization, it is pointed out, that the  petitioner  was  transferred  to
Sidhi, a remote place in Madhya Pradesh.  According to  the  petitioner  for
her posting, Sidhi was deliberately chosen,  to  prevent  her  husband  from
visiting her on week ends, because of  its  non-connectivity.   It  is  also
pointed out, that Sidhi was chosen because the area  is  well  known  to  be
naxal affected and it would be difficult for  the  petitioner  to  work,  at
that station.  It was also pointed  out,  that  the  said  transfer  was  in
violation  of  the   transfer   guidelines/policy   of   the   High   Court.
(guidelines/policy appended to the petition,  as  Annexure  P-27).   On  the
very next day, after the receipt  of  the  transfer  order  dated  8.7.2014,
i.e., 9.7.2014, the petitioner-Addl.D&SJ 'X', addressed a representation  to
the Registrar General of the High Court,  seeking  eight  months  extension.
The aforesaid extension was sought because the petitioner's daughter was  to
take Board examinations of Class XII. It was also pointed  out,  that  under
the transfer policy/guidelines, in case daughter of a  judicial  officer  is
to take Board/University examinations, the officer is not to be  transferred
till the end of  the  academic  session.   Having  submitted  the  aforesaid
representation, it is  the  case  of  the  petitioner,  that  she  contacted
respondent no.3 - Justice 'A', in his capacity as  Administrative  Judge  of
her Sessions Division, and pleaded with him that her  transfer  be  deferred
for the sake  of  her  daughter,  who  was  to  take  the  Class  XII  Board
examination.  In the pleadings  the  petitioner  asserted,  that  respondent
no.3 mockingly reacted to the petitioner's request by telling her  that  she
had not fulfilled his desires, she had not visited his  residence  alone  to
meet him even once, and therefore, this order of transfer  was  before  her.
He further told the petitioner, that he would finish her career  completely.
 It is submitted that the petitioner's representation  dated  9.7.2014,  was
declined on 11.7.2014.
8.          All the facts narrated in  the  foregoing  paragraph  have  been
denied by respondent no.3 in his  counter-affidavit.   In  response  to  the
above  averments,  it  is  denied  that  respondent  no.3  ever  issued  any
instructions to the  District  Judge,  District  Judge  (Vigilance)  or  the
District Registrar in regard to surveillance of  the  professional  work  of
the petitioner.  It is denied, that the actions  of  respondent  no.3,  were
responsible for the petitioner's harassment.  Justice 'A' has denied  having
ever spoken to the officers referred to by the  petitioner,  with  reference
to the petitioner, on any of the issues raised by her.   On  the  allegation
of the petitioner's  intentional  transfer  to  Sidhi  in  July,  2014,  the
Registrar General of the High Court has filed an affidavit dated  17.11.2014
acknowledging, that the exercise of annual  transfers  was  carried  out  in
March, 2014, but the petitioner  was  transferred  in  July,  2014.   It  is
sought to be explained, that at the relevant time,  the  Transfer  Committee
of the High Court comprised of two  senior  Judges,  which  recommended  the
transfer of two Additional District & Sessions Judges,  namely,  Shri  Manoj
Kumar Tiwari and Shri Rajeev Kumar Singh,  to  Sidhi  in  March  2014.   The
recommendation of the Committee was accepted by the  Chief  Justice  of  the
High  Court,  whereupon  the  said  officers  were  transferred  to   Sidhi.
Reciprocally, no Additional District and Sessions Judge was transferred  out
of Sidhi, at that juncture.  The above transfers had been made on the  basis
of a request made by the District and Sessions Judge, Sidhi  to  handle  the
huge pendency of cases at Sidhi.  Despite the  transfer  of  two  Additional
District and Sessions Judges referred to above, the  District  and  Sessions
Judge, Sidhi made another request through his communication  dated  9.6.2014
to post another two Additional  District  and  Sessions  Judges,  at  Sidhi.
This requirement expressed by the District and  Sessions  Judge,  Sidhi  was
considered by the Transfer Committee,  along  with  similar  other  requests
from other Sessions Divisions.   On  a  fresh  consideration,  the  Transfer
Committee recommended the transfer  of  28  judicial  officers  including  6
Additional District & Sessions Judges.  The Chief Justice of the High  Court
approved the recommendations made by the Transfer Committee.   The  transfer
of the petitioner-Addl.D&SJ 'X' to Sidhi accordingly  materialized.   It  is
submitted that all the transfers, including that  of  the  petitioner,  were
made in administrative exigencies,  and  not  on  extraneous  consideration.
Insofar as  the  representation  made  by  the  petitioner,  dated  9.7.2014
seeking cancellation/deferment of order of her transfer is concerned, it  is
pointed out, that the same was placed before the  Transfer  Committee.   The
Transfer Committee, vide its resolution  dated  11.7.2014,  recommended  the
rejection of the representation.  The said recommendation  was  approved  by
the Chief Justice of the High Court on 11.7.2014 itself.  With reference  to
the petitioner's representation dated 11.7.2014, it  is  pointed  out,  that
the same was also  placed  before  the  Transfer  Committee.   The  Transfer
Committee vide its resolution dated 14.7.2014, recommended the rejection  of
the  second  representation.   The  recommendation  made  by  the   Transfer
Committee, was again approved by the Chief Justice  of  the  High  Court  on
14.7.2014.  It is pointed out, that on the very next day,  i.e.,  15.7.2014,
the petitioner tendered her resignation.
9(i). The next component of the narration in the writ petition,  relates  to
the measures adopted by the petitioner.  In this  behalf,  it  is  asserted,
that  the  petitioner  along  with  her  husband  traveled  to  Jabalpur  on
1.6.2014.  The sole purpose was to discuss the afore-stated  issues  with  a
senior Judge of the High Court.  After the petitioner narrated  her  version
to the senior Judge, she was informed by the  senior  Judge,  that  he  knew
respondent no.3 - Justice 'A', and promised to intervene in the matter.   He
assured the  petitioner,  that  he  would  arrange  a  meeting  between  the
petitioner and respondent no.3 at Gwalior (during a forthcoming marriage  in
the 2nd week of June, 2014).
(ii). From 11.4.2014 to 14.7.2014, the petitioner claims that she  spoke  to
the Private Secretary to the Chief Justice of the High  Court,  for  seeking
an audience with the Chief Justice of the  High  Court.   According  to  the
pleadings  in  the  writ  petition,  on  13.7.2014,  the  Private  Secretary
informed the petitioner that the Chief Justice had refused to  give  her  an
appointment.  The Private Secretary however reassured  her,  that  he  would
make yet another effort to procure her  an  appointment  for  the  following
day, and was  hopeful  to  manage  the  same.   He  had  also  informed  the
petitioner that he would  convey  the  outcome  "early  next  morning".   On
14.7.2014, since the  petitioner  did  not  receive  any  message  from  the
Private Secretary, she sent a message to him inquiring about the outcome  of
his efforts.  Learned counsel, during the course of hearing, submitted  that
the Private  Secretary  did  not  contact  the  petitioner  thereafter.   In
support of the assertion, that the petitioner  was  seeking  an  appointment
with the Chief Justice of the High  Court,  it  is  asserted,  that  as  the
Private Secretary was hopeful of getting her  an  audience  with  the  Chief
Justice, she purchased two railway tickets  for  14.7.2014  to  travel  from
Gwalior to Jabalpur, in the company of her husband.  These tickets  were  in
addition to the tickets purchased by  her  to  make  a  similar  journey  on
11.7.2014 to meet senior Judges of the High Court.  Copies of both  sets  of
tickets have been appended to the writ petition.
(iii).      It is the pleaded case of the petitioner, that on the  following
day, after the petitioner  met  respondent  no.3  -  Justice  'A"  i.e.,  on
11.7.2014, the petitioner visited a number of  senior  Judges  of  the  High
Court.  She was advised to make another representation seeking deferment  of
her transfer, which she did on 11.7.2014 itself.  Some  of  them  urged  the
petitioner to have faith in the system, and to  await  the  outcome  of  her
second  representation.   The  petitioner's   second   representation,   was
declined through a communication dated 11.7.2014.
10.   According to the petitioner, having been  subjected  to  victimization
and harassment, the petitioner submitted her resignation from  the  post  of
Additional  District  and  Sessions  Judge,  on  15.7.2014.   The  aforesaid
resignation was addressed to the Registrar General of the  High  Court.   In
her  resignation,  the  petitioner  expressly  mentioned  about  her   elder
daughter studying in Class XII.  It was submitted, that no reference to  the
sexual harassment suffered by her was made in  the  resignation  letter,  as
the same would have been embarrassing for the petitioner.   It  was  pointed
out that the resignation  submitted  by  the  petitioner,  was  accepted  on
17.7.2014 by  the  Legal  and  Legislative  Work  Department  of  the  State
Government.  On the issue of  the  petitioner's  resignation,  the  position
explained in the reply filed on behalf  of  respondent  no.1  is,  that  the
petitioner's resignation  was  received  in  the  office  of  the  Registrar
General  of  the  High  Court  on  15.7.2014.   The  same  was  placed   for
consideration of the Chief Justice of the  High  Court  on  16.7.2014.   The
Chief Justice recommended the acceptance of the  resignation  to  the  State
Government.  The State Government accepted the petitioner's  resignation  on
17.7.2014.
11.   Having suffered extreme vilification at the hands  of  her  superiors,
for having not been afforded even an opportunity of being  able  to  express
her difficulties, the petitioner sent a representation to the  President  of
India, the Chief Justice of India and the Chief Justice of  the  High  Court
on 1.8.2014.  In her representation, the petitioner inter  alia  sought  the
following reliefs:
"1. Appropriate action be taken, after a fact-finding.
2.  Re-consider the circumstances under which  the  Petitioner  was  coerced
and exerted a great duress upon, until  the  only  option  she  had  was  to
resign.
3. Institute an appropriate mechanism for redressal of grievances  like  the
above, of sub-ordinate services judicial officers."
12.   Another relevant fact, which  has  not  been  disclosed  in  the  writ
petition,  and  which  has  emerged  from  the  reply  filed  on  behalf  of
respondent no.1-the Registrar  General  of  the  High  Court,  needs  to  be
recorded here to complete the sequence of events.   It  is  pointed  out  on
behalf of respondent no.1, that  the  petitioner  had  never  disclosed  the
factum of sexual harassment in any of the numerous communications  addressed
by her to the High Court.  It is pointed out,  that  the  factum  of  sexual
harassment had not even been incorporated in  the  petitioner's  resignation
letter.  In the  reply  filed  by  respondent  no.1,  it  is  sought  to  be
asserted, that the allegations of sexual harassment  were  recorded  by  the
petitioner, for the first time, in her representation dated 1.8.2014,  which
was addressed to the Chief Justice of  India.   It  is  also  sought  to  be
asserted, in the reply filed on behalf of respondent no.1, that  the  nature
of allegations of sexual harassment levelled by the petitioner came  to  the
knowledge of the Chief Justice of the High Court through  a  newspaper  item
published on 4.8.2014 in the Times of India.  It is  averred  in  the  reply
filed on behalf of respondent no.1, that  respondent  no.3  -  Justice  'A',
addressed a letter to the Chief Justice of the High Court with reference  to
the news item dated 4.8.2014.  The news item as well as the letter  received
from respondent no.3 were sent by the Chief Justice of the High Court, by  a
special messenger, to the Chief Justice of India.   Respondent  no.1,  i.e.,
the Registrar General of the High Court, on  being  directed  by  the  Chief
Justice of the High Court, issued the following press release on 4.8.2014:
                               "PRESS RELEASE
      This is with regard to news item published in daily  newspaper  'Times
of India' dated 04.08.2014 reporting that a lady Judicial Officer posted  as
Additional District Judge, Gwalior had to resign from judicial  service  due
to alleged harassment by a High Court Judge.   It  has  been  reported  that
when the lady Judicial Officer sought appointment  with  Hon'ble  the  Chief
Justice to apprise him of the  factual  position,  the  same  was  declined.
This is a distorted version.
      As a matter of fact, she  sought  appointment  telephonically  through
Principal Private Secretary (PPS) to Hon'ble the Chief  Justice,  after  she
had already tendered her  resignation  which  was  forwarded  to  the  State
Government for necessary action.  In the given situation, she  was  informed
by the PPS to submit a formal representation, if  advised,  in  the  matter.
However, no representation has so far been made by her.
      In the context of the news item, the concerned High Court Judge  faxed
a confidential letter to Hon'ble the Chief Justice  which  was  received  on
4th August, 2014 in the morning.  Hon'ble the Chief Justice has forwarded  a
copy of the  said  letter  to  Hon'ble  the  Chief  Justice  of  India  with
comments.
      The lady Ex-Judicial Officer, who was posted at Gwalior since  August,
2011 was transferred in July, 2014 to Sidhi on administrative grounds.   Her
two representations seeking cancellation of the transfer on  the  ground  of
education of  her  daughters  were  duly  considered  and  rejected  by  the
concerned  Administrative  Committee  of  the  High  Court.   She  has   not
represented about the alleged misbehavior or harassment  caused  to  her  by
anyone.
                                                   Sd/-
                                        (VED PRAKASH)
                                  REGISTRAR GENERAL
                 HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH
                                             JABALPUR
                                               04.08.2014"
                                                          (emphasis is ours)
The aforesaid press release has been extracted hereinabove so  as  to  avoid
any further narration on the aforesaid subject.
13.   According to the averments made in the reply filed on  behalf  of  the
Registrar General of the High Court, a sealed  envelope  was  received  from
the office of the Chief Justice of India in  the  High  Court  on  7.8.2014.
From the record made available, it is apparent that  the  Chief  Justice  of
the High Court, keeping in view  the  sensitivity  and  seriousness  of  the
matter, invited the two senior  most  judges  of  the  High  Court  and  the
Registrar General of the High Court.  All decisions in the matter were  made
collectively, in the best interest of all concerned.  In furtherance of  the
communication received from the Chief Justice of India,  the  Chief  Justice
of the High Court constituted a two-member senior judges  Enquiry  Committee
(one of whom was  a  lady  judge),  to  make  a  confidential  and  discreet
inquiry, and to submit a report.  A  senior  lady  Additional  District  and
Sessions Judge, was nominated by the Chief Justice of the  High  Court,  for
secretarial assistance of the "two-Judge Committee".
14.   Consequent upon the  nomination  of  the  "two-Judge  Committee",  the
petitioner received  (via  e-mail)  a  notice  from  the  Secretary  of  the
Committee constituted by the Chief Justice of the High Court  on  12.8.2014,
requiring her to appear for a  preliminary  inquiry  before  the  "two-Judge
Committee" on 19.8.2014 at 10.30  a.m.   The  petitioner  responded  to  the
aforesaid notice vide her reply dated 14.8.2014 (via e-mail and speed  post)
requesting for information, as to under what  authority  of  law  the  "two-
Judge Committee" had  been  constituted.   In  order  to  ensure,  that  the
deliberations assigned to the Committee constituted by the Chief Justice  of
the High Court were fair, the petitioner,  through  her  above  reply  dated
14.8.2014,  requested  that  administrative  functions  be  withdrawn   from
respondent no.3 -  Justice  'A'.   She  also  sought  the  transfer  of  the
District Judge, the District Judge (Inspection) and the  District  Registrar
posted at Gwalior, so that her witnesses  could  depose  freely  and  fairly
before the "two-Judge Committee".  In a response dated 14.8.2014  (sent  via
e-mail), the petitioner was informed, that the Chief  Justice  of  the  High
Court had set  up  the  "two-member  Committee"  to  conduct  a  preliminary
inquiry  into  the  allegations  levelled  against  respondent   no.3.    On
19.8.2014, the petitioner submitted her second reply  (via  e-mail  as  also
via speed post) stating that her request for  withdrawal  of  administrative
work from respondent no.3 - Justice 'A' and  her  request  for  transfer  of
judicial officers from Sessions Division, Gwalior had remained  unaddressed.
 She also pointed out, that the procedure envisaged by the Supreme Court  in
the decision rendered in C. Ravichandran Iyer v. Justice A.M.  Bhattacharjee
(1995) 5 SCC 457, was not being followed, inasmuch as the Chief  Justice  of
the High Court was to conduct a discreet inquiry at his  own  and  that  she
could not be required to appear  before  the  "two-Judge  Committee"  for  a
preliminary inquiry.  In support of the original complaint submitted by  the
petitioner, on this occasion she also enclosed a sworn affidavit,  affirming
the factual position expressed in her complaint.
15.   The determination of the present controversy,  will  emerge  from  the
factual position projected by the rival parties which  has  been  summarized
above.
16.   It would be pertinent to mention, that the  main  submission  advanced
at the hands of the  learned  counsel  for  the  petitioner  was,  that  the
proceedings being conducted in the matter, are not in  consonance  with  the
"in-house procedure" adopted by this  Court  for  taking  suitable  remedial
action against judges, who by their acts of omission or commission,  do  not
follow the accepted values of judicial life, including the ideals  expressed
by the Supreme Court in the "Restatement of Values of Judicial  Life".   The
projection of the aforesaid  contention,  we  felt,  would  not  require  an
insight into the allegations made by Addl.D&SJ 'X', or even the response  of
Mr. Justice 'A'.  However, the submissions, as they have emerged during  the
course of hearing, reveal that the same also require to be  considered.   We
also felt, after  hearing  submissions  advanced  on  behalf  of  the  rival
parties, that the steps taken by the Chief Justice of the High  Court,  also
needed a closer examination, for an effective and fruitful consideration  of
the controversy in view of the sensitivity and seriousness  of  the  matter.
We  have,  accordingly,  briefly  traced  the  allegations   made   by   the
petitioner, as also, the defence of respondent no.3.  We have also  ventured
to narrate the  steps  taken  by  the  Chief  Justice  of  the  High  Court,
consequent upon the petitioner's complaint being forwarded  to  him  by  the
Chief Justice of India.  As a note of caution,  we  would  like  to  record,
that our recording of the events, may not be taken as the last word  on  the
matter, we may have noticed  certain  facts  in  a  manner  which  may  have
overlooked the sensitivity with which the  party  concerned  had  viewed  or
projected them.  We may have also missed certain finer points, which  could,
on an analysis of facts, result in quite a  different  conclusion  on  their
holistic examination.  The issue of sexual harassment has a variety of  fine
connotations.  Its evaluation may sometimes depend upon the  sensitivity  of
the person concerned.  And also whether,  the  perception  of  the  harassed
individual was known  to  the  one  against  whom  the  accusing  finger  is
pointed.
17.   Every day is a matter of learning.  Hearing  of  submissions  in  this
case, we may say, was a matter of further  understanding  the  sensitivities
involved in a  controversy  of  the  present  nature.   We  may  venture  to
demonstrate this, by noticing  a  verbal  exchange,  during  the  course  of
hearing, between the counsel for  the  petitioner  and  that  for  the  High
Court.  While the learned counsel representing the High Court was  on  "his"
legs, learned counsel for the petitioner interjected to express "her"  point
of view.  All through, during  the  process  of  hearing,  submissions  were
advanced in a lively and respectful manner, and  pointedly  on  the  subject
under consideration.  Feeling  that  the  thought  being  projected  by  the
learned  counsel  was  being  disturbed  by  the  intervention,  the   Bench
accordingly  exhorted  learned  counsel,  to  go   on   unmindful   of   the
interruption.   Learned  counsel  for  the  High  Court,  well-meaning   and
deferential as he always is, responded by observing, "The  interjections  by
the learned senior counsel  for  the  petitioner,  are  always  delightful".
Learned senior counsel for the petitioner,  had  serious  objection  to  the
term, ''delightful'' used, with reference to  "her".   She  questioned,  the
use of the term, ''delightful" by posing  to  the  learned  senior  counsel,
whether similar interjections  by  men,  were  also  considered  by  him  as
delightful.  Why then, she questioned, should "her"  interjection  be  found
''delightful''.  In expressing  her  view,  she  went  on  to  describe  the
response of the learned  senior  counsel  as  "sexually  coloured".   Having
given our thoughtful consideration to the response, of the  learned  counsel
for the petitioner, we may only say, that she may well be right.   There  is
a lot to be learnt, from what she innocuously conveyed.  Her sensitivity  to
the  issue,  one  may  confess,  brought  out  to  us,  a  wholly  different
understanding on the subject.  It  is,  therefore,  that  we  have  remarked
above, that the evaluation of a charge of sexual  harassment,  would  depend
on the manner in which it  is  perceived.     Each  case  will  have  to  be
decided  on  its  own  merits.   Whether  the  perception  of  the  harassed
individual, was conveyed to the person accused, would be very  material,  in
a case falling in the realm of over-sensitivity.  In that, it would  not  be
open to him thereafter, to defend himself by  projecting  that  he  had  not
sexually harassed the person concerned, because  in  his  understanding  the
alleged action was unoffending.
18.   Therefore, as a matter of caution,  we  desire  to  expressly  record,
that the facts taken into consideration by us, are for the  limited  purpose
of the submissions advanced at the hands of  the  learned  counsel  for  the
petitioner, to consider whether the procedure being followed in the  present
controversy, is in consonance with the "in-house procedure" adopted by  this
Court, as also, whether the procedure adopted by the Chief  Justice  of  the
High Court, would meet the ends of justice.
19.   Before dwelling upon the pointed issues canvassed before us, we  would
venture to briefly record the sequence of events which led to  the  adoption
by this Court, of the "in-house procedure".  It is necessary for  us  to  do
so, because  the  contentions  advanced  by  the  learned  counsel  for  the
petitioner were founded on the "in-house procedure",  whereas,  it  was  the
contention in response, that the same was not justiciable, and as such,  the
present writ petition is not maintainable in law.
20.   Amongst the first encounters, to an investigation into the conduct  of
a judge, can be traced from a statement made to the Bar by  the  then  Chief
Justice of India,  Mr.  Justice  Sabyasachi  Mukherjee  on  20.7.1990,  with
reference to the allegations levelled against Mr. Justice V. Ramaswami,  who
at that juncture, was a sitting Judge of the Supreme  Court  of  India.   An
extract of the statement made to the Bar is being reproduced hereunder:
                             "Re: Ramaswami, J.
                         CJI's Statement to the Bar
In the beginning of May, 1990, some learned advocates of this Court drew  my
attention to certain newspapers about the  audit  report  investigating  the
expenses incurred in furnishing the residence of a former Chief  Justice  of
the Punjab & Haryana High Court, namely, Shri V. Ramaswami,  who  is  now  a
sitting Judge of this court. I was requested by the learned lawyers to  take
action suo-motu. The matter was mentioned more than one. On  1st May,  1990.
I had received a communication from  the  editor  of  a  magazine  enclosing
therewith a copy of April 90 issue of  the  magazine  The  Lawyers,  stating
that it contained the full text  of  the  audit  report  of  the  Chandigarh
Administration. Thereafter after, the learned Attorney  General,  Sir.  Soli
Sorabjee, the former Attorney General, Sri  Parasaran,  Mr.  Venugopal,  the
president of the Supreme  Court  Bar  Association,  and  Dr.  Y.S.  Chitale,
former President of the Supreme Court Bar association, also met me and  drew
my attention to these reports and expressed concern on the contents  of  the
publications. The Union Minister  of  Law  and  Justice  called  on  me  and
expressed the concern  of  the  members  of  parliament  about  the  alleged
extravagance by Justice Ramaswami and the  contents  of  the  report,  while
working as the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High  Court.  Sharing
their concern, I had told the  Law  Minister  and  have  since  assured  the
learned Attorney General and other members of the  Bar  that  I  would  look
into the matter.
Legally and constitutionally the Chief Justice of India,  as  such,  has  no
right or authority to inquire into the conduct of a  sitting  Judge  of  the
Supreme Court. However, the Chief justice of  India,  as  the  head  of  the
Judicial Family has, I believe, the duty and the responsibility to  maintain
the judicial propriety and attempts to secure the confidence of  the  public
in the working of the judicial process.
This was an unprecedented and  an  embarrassing  situation.  It  called  for
caution and establishment of a salutary convention. If  have  obtained  from
the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court the necessary papers.
There are three kinds of reports  (i)  Reports  submitted  by  the  Internal
Audit Cell  of  the  High  Court  (ii)  Fact-finding  Reports  submitted  by
District and  Sessions  Judges  (Vigilance)  both  of  Punjab  and  Haryana;
and(iii)  Reports  and  audit-paras  submitted  by  the  official   of   the
Accountant Generals office to the High Court  for  reply.  The  reports  and
audit  paras  last  mentioned  seek  clarifications  and  justifications  in
respect of the transactions which prime facie appeared to be irregular.
I have looked into it and then arrived at a certain tentative impression  it
is not necessary to recapitulate in detail,  the  alleged  irregularities  I
understand from the  authorities  of  the  High  Court  that  the  officials
involved in the alleged irregularities have been suspended and  departmental
inquiries have been instituted against  them.  The  final  result  of  these
departmental  inquiries  is  awaited.  In  the  meantime,  I  took   Brother
Ramaswami into confidence and made known to him the contents  of  the  audit
reports with a  view  to  ascertaining  his  position  in  relation  to  the
disclosures made in the reports. He has  given  his  version.  I  have  also
requested Brother Ramaswami to communicate his views to the Registrar,  High
Court of Punjab and Haryana so that the High Court may reply  to  the  audit
objections raised by the Government.
I understand that the High Court  had  directly  sought  Brother  Ramaswamis
clarifications with regard to certain audit objection and he has written  to
the officers  of  the  High  Court  in  this  behalf.  The  proceedings,  as
mentioned before, against some of the officers  of  High  Court  on  alleged
irregularities are still pending. In respect of some of  the  irregularities
which I have considered and  the  tendency  of  the  departmental  inquiries
against the suspended officers, I  am  of  the  opinion  that  it  would  be
appropriate to wait for a closer examination of the  replies  to  the  audit
objections and the various queries submitted by the High  Court  to  Brother
Ramaswami before one can come to a final conclusion.
xxx                    xxx                   xxx
The Supreme Court must uphold the rule of law. It is,  therefore,  necessary
that those who uphold the rule of law must live  by  law  and  judges  must,
therefore, be obliged to live according to law. The law, procedure  and  the
norms applicable in this case, enjoin that  the  expenses  incurred  by  the
Court for the  Judges  must  be  according  to  the  rules,  norms  and  the
practice. No man is above law  or  the  rules.  The  Judges  either  of  the
Supreme Court or of the High Courts and the Chief Justices are  all  subject
to the rule of law and procedure like any other citizen of this country  and
must abide by the norms and regulation prescribed inasmuch as these  and  to
the extent are applicable to them  I  always  thought  this  was  clear  and
needed no reiteration. We must, therefore, ensure that there is  no  conduct
of the Judges, which affects the faith of the  people  that  Judges  do  not
live according to law. Judges cannot afford  to  be  involved  in  disputes,
which have to determine the question whether the  Judges  while  functioning
as Judges of Chief  Justices  have  attempted  to  subvert  the  law  either
designedly or in utter negligence or recklessness.
In this matter, the questions involved are, namely, (i)  whether  the  Chief
Justice was entitled to the expenses of  his  telephone  at  Madras  because
Chandigarh was declared a disturbed area;
(ii) Whether the Chief Justice was obliged to  obtain  leave  to  avail  the
facility of LTC;
(iii) Whether the Chief Justice was entitled to direct the cars to be  taken
to madras when he was on vacation from Chandigarh for the reasons  mentioned
by him;
(iv) Whether the silver maces ordered by the High Court have  been  done  at
the rate similar to the rate applied in respect of  those  supplied  tot  he
Madras high Court, and
(v) Whether even though the Judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court  did
not approve the idea of having maces for each individual  Judge,  the  Chief
Justice was entitled to direct the purchase of these maces. Theses  are  the
matters on which interpretation  of  the  rules  or  on  the  permission  or
relaxation of rules, certain consequences will  follow,  and  if  the  Chief
justice was not so entitled or these could not be  sanctioned  as  has  been
done under the circumstances  mentioned  in  the  aforesaid  objections  and
communications, reimbursement or recovery would be directed. These  matters,
therefore, will have to await adjudication by the  appropriate  authorities,
namely, the Government and the sanctioning authorities  dealing  with  audit
objections, in respect of the permissions sought. Though one would  like  to
think that there has been extravagance and ostentiousness but these  by  the
selves do not involve determining questions of moral  or  legal  impropriety
of a judge functioning as a Judge in the Court.
But there are some other  aspects  involved  in  this  matter,  namely,  the
questions of not accounting for all the furnitures or  items  that  were  in
the residence and office of the Chief Justice, the  alleged  replacement  of
superior quality items by inferior quality items, the missing items and  the
splitting up of the bills in order to have the sanction of  the  authorities
or to conform  to  the  rules,  are  the  matters  which  are  also  pending
determination and adjudication.
Involvement in any investigation on the conduct of a sitting  Supreme  Court
Judge on such matters as aforesaid is embarrassing in the circumstances  and
the background in which these questions have arisen  in  the  instant  case.
For one who should attempt to uphold the rule of law, it is embarrassing  to
be involved in such a dispute. But no final decision on this aspect  can  be
arrived at until the investigations and inquiries are completed. I have,  on
these aspects after looking into the matter  and  the  points  involved,  no
doubt that those who aspire to uphold the rule of law must  strive  to  live
according to law and they necessarily expose the selves  to  the  danger  of
perishing  by  law.  I  am  aware  and  deeply  conscious  that  in  certain
circumstances  somebody  may  be  a  victim  of  certain  situation.  I  was
constrained, in those circumstances, to advise Brother Ramaswami  to  desist
from discharging judicial functions so long as the investigations  continued
and his name was cleared on this aspect.
I wrote to Brother  Ramaswami  on  18th July  1990  rendering  my  aforesaid
advice. I have also conveyed to him my anguish in tendering this advice  and
I have requested him to please be on leave until the investigations  on  the
aforesaid conduct are completed.
On 18th July, 1990  after  receipt  of  my  letter,  Brother  Ramaswami  has
applied for leave for six weeks in  the  first  instance  with  effect  from
23rd July, 1990. I have directed the office to process his  application  for
leave.
Since I had assured the learned Attorney  General,  the  Law  Minister,  the
president of the Bar Association and other that  I  will  look  into  it,  I
thought I must covey to you result of my looking into it."
It would be relevant to mention, that no further action  was  taken  by  the
Chief Justice of India,  in  furtherance  of  the  administrative  authority
vested in him, in the matter relating to the  allegations  levelled  against
Justice  V.  Ramaswami.   Impeachment  proceedings  were  initiated  against
Justice V. Ramaswami under Article 124 of the Constitution  of  India.   The
outcome of the same, is inconsequential to the present controversy.
21.   Contextually, reference needs to be made, to the resolution passed  by
the Bombay Bar Association on 1.3.1995 by a  majority  of  185  out  of  207
permanent members, demanding the resignation of Justice A.M.  Bhattacharjee,
the then Chief Justice of Bombay High Court.  A writ  petition  came  to  be
filed in this Court, seeking an appropriate  writ,  order  or  direction  to
restrain  the  Bar  Council  of  Maharashtra  and  Goa,   the   Bombay   Bar
Association, and the Advocates' Association of Western India, from  coercing
Justice A.M. Bhattacharjee from resigning  the  office  held  by  him.   The
petitioner in the above case, had also made a prayer, that  the  allegations
levelled against Justice A.M. Bhattacharjee be required to  be  investigated
by the Central Bureau of Investigation, and if the same  were  found  to  be
true, a direction be issued to the Speaker of the  Lok  Sabha,  to  initiate
action for the removal of Justice  A.M.  Bhattacharjee,  under  Article  124
read with  Article  218  of  the  Constitution  of  India,  and  the  Judges
(Inquiry) Act, 1968.  While deliberating  upon  the  aforesaid  issue,  this
Court inter alia held as under:
"40.  Bearing all the above in mind, we are  of  the  considered  view  that
where the complaint relates to the  Judge  of  the  High  Court,  the  Chief
Justice of that High Court, after  verification,  and  if  necessary,  after
confidential enquiry from his independent  source,  should  satisfy  himself
about the truth of the imputation made by the Bar  Association  through  its
office bearers against the Judge and consult the  Chief  Justice  of  India,
where deemed necessary, by placing all the information with  him.  When  the
Chief Justice of India is seized of the matter, to  avoid  embarrassment  to
him and to allow fairness in the procedure  to  be  adopted  in  furtherance
thereof, the Bar should suspend all further  actions  to  enable  the  Chief
Justice of India to appropriately deal with the matter.  This  is  necessary
because any action he may take must not only be just but  must  also  appear
to be just to all concerned, i.e., it must not  even  appear  to  have  been
taken under pressure from any  quarter.  The  Chief  Justice  of  India,  on
receipt of the information from the Chief Justice of the High  Court,  after
being satisfied about the correctness and truth touching the conduct of  the
Judge, may tender such advice either directly or may initiate  such  action,
as is deemed necessary or warranted under given facts and circumstances.  If
circumstances permit, it may be salutary to take the Judge  into  confidence
before initiating action. On the decision being taken by the  Chief  Justice
of India, the matter should rest at that.  This  procedure  would  not  only
facilitate nipping in the bud the conduct of a  Judge  leading  to  loss  of
public confidence in the courts and sustain public faith in the efficacy  of
the rule of law  and  respect  for  the  judiciary,  but  would  also  avoid
needless embarrassment of contempt proceedings against  the  office  bearers
of  the  Bar  Association  and  group  libel  against  all  concerned.   The
independence of judiciary and the stream  of  public  justice  would  remain
pure and unsullied. The Bar Association could remain a  useful  arm  of  the
judiciary and in the case of sagging reputation  of  the  particular  Judge,
the Bar Association could take up the matter with the Chief Justice  of  the
High Court and await his response for the  action  taken  thereunder  for  a
reasonable period.
41.   In case the allegations are against Chief Justice  of  a  High  Court,
the Bar should bring them directly to the notice of  the  Chief  Justice  of
India. On receipt of such complaint, the Chief Justice  of  India  would  in
the same way act as stated above qua complaint against a Judge of  the  High
Court, and the Bar would await for a reasonable period the response  of  the
Chief Justice of India.
42.   It would thus be seen that yawning  gap  between  proved  misbehaviour
and bad conduct in consistent with the high office on  the  part  of  a  non
cooperating Judge/Chief Justice of a High  Court  could  be  disciplined  by
self-regulation through in-house procedure. This  in-house  procedure  would
fill  in  the  constitutional  gap  and   would   yield   salutary   effect.
Unfortunately, recourse to this procedure was  not  taken  in  the  case  at
hand, may be, because of absence of legal sanction to such a procedure."
22.   In furtherance of the directions issued in C.Ravichandran Iyer's  case
(supra), this Court constituted a committee comprising of  three  Judges  of
this Court, namely, Justices S.C. Agrawal, A.S.  Anand  (as  he  then  was),
S.P. Bharucha (as he then was), and the then two senior-most Chief  Justices
of High Courts, i.e., Justices P.S. Misra and D.P. Mohapatra (of the  Andhra
Pradesh High Court and the Allahabad High Court, respectively), to lay  down
the "in-house  procedure",  for  taking  suitable  remedial  action  against
judges, who by their acts of omission  or  commission,  do  not  follow  the
accepted values of judicial life, including  the  ideals  expressed  by  the
Supreme Court in  the   "Restatement  of   Values  of  Judicial  Life".  The
committee submitted its report on 31.10.1997.  The  same  was  adopted  with
amendments, in a Full Court Meeting  of  the  Supreme  Court  of  India,  on
15.12.1999. In the afore-stated report, three sets of procedure  for  taking
such suitable remedial action against judges were  laid  down.   The  first,
related to Judges of the High Courts, the second, to Chief Justices  of  the
High Courts, and the third, to Judges of the Supreme Court.  Insofar as  the
present controversy is concerned, since the same relates to the  allegations
made against a sitting Judge of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, only the "in-
house procedure" pertaining to Judges of the High Courts is  relevant.   The
main submission advanced at  the  hands  of  the  learned  counsel  for  the
petitioner is  also  based  on  the  same.   The  "in-house  procedure",  as
determined with reference to Judges of the High Court, is accordingly  being
extracted hereunder:
"HIGH COURT JUDGE:
A complaint against a Judge of a High court is received either by the  Chief
justice of that High Court or by the Chief  Justice  of  India  (CJI).  Some
times such a complaint is made to the President  of  India.  The  complaints
that are received by the President of India are generally forwarded  to  the
CJI. The Committee suggests the following procedure for  dealing  with  such
complaints:-
(1) Where the complaint is received against a Judge of a High Court  by  the
Chief Justice of that High Court, he shall examine it. If  it  is  found  by
him that it is frivolous or directly related to the merits of a  substantive
decision in a judicial matter or does not involve any serious  complaint  of
misconduct or impropriety, he shall file the complaint and  inform  the  CJI
accordingly. If it is found by him  that  the  complaint  is  of  a  serious
nature involving misconduct or impropriety, he shall ask  for  the  response
thereto of the Judge concerned. If on a consideration of the allegations  in
the complaint in the light of the  response  of  the  Judge  concerned,  the
Chief Justice of the High Court is  satisfied  that  no  further  action  is
necessary he shall file complaint and inform the  CJI  accordingly.  If  the
Chief Justice of the High Court is  of  the  opinion  that  the  allegations
contained in the complaint need a deeper probe, he shall forward to the  CJI
the complaint and the  response  of  the  Judge  concerned  along  with  his
comments.
(2) When the complaint is received by the CJI directly or  it  is  forwarded
to him by the President of India the CJI will examine it. If it is found  by
him that it is either frivolous or directly  related  to  the  merits  of  a
substantive decision in a judicial matter or does not  involve  any  serious
complaint of misconduct or impropriety, he shall file  it.  In  other  cases
the complaint shall be  sent  by  the  CJI  to  the  Chief  Justice  of  the
concerned High court for his comments. On the receipt of the complaint  from
CJI the Chief Justice f the concerned High court shall ask for the  response
of the judge concerned. If on a consideration  of  the  allegations  in  the
complaint in the light of the response of  the  Judge  concerned  the  Chief
justice of the High Court is satisfied that no further action  is  necessary
or if he is of the opinion that the allegations contained in  the  complaint
need a deeper probe, he shall return the complaint to the CJI along  with  a
statement of the response of the Judge concerned and his comments.
(3) After considering the complaint in the light  of  the  response  of  the
judge concerned and the comments of the Chief justice  of  the  high  court,
the CJI, if he is of the opinion that a deeper probe is  required  into  the
allegations contained in the complaint,  shall  constitute  a  three  member
Committee consisting of two Chief justices of High  Courts  other  than  the
High Court to which the Judge belongs and one High  Court  Judge.  The  said
Committee shall hold an  inquiry  into  the  allegations  contained  in  the
complaint. The inquiry shall be in the nature  of  a  fact  finding  inquiry
wherein the Judge concerned would be entitled to appear and  have  his  say.
But it would not be a formal judicial inquiry involving the examination  and
cross-examination of witnesses and representation by lawyers.
(4) For conducting the inquiry the Committee shall devise its own  procedure
consistent with the principles of natural justice.
(5)(i) After such inquiry the Committee may conclude and report to  the  CJI
that (a)  there  is  no  substance  in  the  allegations  contained  in  the
complaint,  or  (b)  there  is  sufficient  substance  in  the   allegations
contained in the complaint and the misconduct disclosed is so  serious  that
it calls for initiation of proceedings for removal  of  the  Judge,  or  (c)
there is substance in the allegations contained in  the  complaint  but  the
misconduct disclosed is not  of  such  a  serious  nature  as  to  call  for
initiation of proceedings for removal of the Judge.
(ii) A copy of the Report shall be furnished to the judge concerned  by  the
Committee.
(6) In a case where the Committee finds that there is no  substance  in  the
allegations contained in the complaint, the complaint shall be filed by  the
CJI.
(7) If the Committee finds  that  there  is  substance  in  the  allegations
contained in the complaint and misconduct disclosed in  the  allegations  is
such that it calls for initiation of proceedings for removal of  the  Judge,
the CJI shall adopt the following course:-
(i) the Judge concerned should be advised  to  resign  his  office  or  seek
voluntary retirement;
(ii) In a case the judge expresses  his  unwillingness  to  resign  or  seek
voluntary retirement, the chief justice of the concerned High  Court  should
be advised by the CJI not  to  allocate  any  judicial  work  to  the  judge
concerned and the President  of  India  and  the  Prime  Minister  shall  be
intimated that this has been done because allegations against the Judge  had
been found by the Committee to be so serious as to  warrant  the  initiation
of proceedings for removal and the copy of the report of the  Committee  may
be enclosed.
(8) If the Committee finds that there is substance in  the  allegations  but
the misconduct disclosed is not so serious as  to  call  for  initiation  of
proceedings for  removal  of  the  judge,  the  CJI  shall  call  the  Judge
concerned and advise him accordingly and may also direct that the report  of
the Committee be placed on record."
23.   Next in sequence, we may advert to the letter dated  4.8.2008  written
by the then Chief Justice of India, Mr. Justice K.G.  Balakrishnan,  to  the
then Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh,  recommending  the  removal  of  Mr.
Justice Soumitra Sen, then  a sitting Judge of the Calcutta High  Court.   A
relevant extract of the above letter is placed below:
"The  text  of  the  letter  written  by  Chief  Justice  of   India,   K.G.
Balakrishnan to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recommending  removal  of  Mr.
Justice Soumitra Sen, Judge of the Calcutta High Court.
                                                       Dated: 4 August, 2008
Dear Prime Minister,
I write this to recommend  that  the  proceedings  contemplated  by  Article
217(1) read with  Article  124(4)  of  the  Constitution  be  initiated  for
removal of Mr. Justice Soumitra Sen, Judge, Calcutta High Court.
2-8.        xxx              xxx             xxx
9.  Reports  appeared  in  newspapers  concerning  the  conduct  of  Justice
Soumitra Sen in the above-noted matter. The then Chief Justice  of  Calcutta
High Court withdrew judicial work from him and wrote  a  letter  dated  25th
November, 2006 to my learned predecessor bringing the matter to  his  notice
for appropriate action.
10. On 1st July, 2007  I  sought  a  comprehensive  report  from  the  Chief
Justice of Calcutta High Court along with his views about  Justice  Soumitra
Sen. On 12th July, 2007 Justice Soumitra Sen called on me, on advice of  his
Chief Justice and verbally explained his conduct. He sent his report  to  me
on 20th August, 2007.
11.         xxx              xxx        xxx
12. On 10th September, 2007 I had asked Justice Soumitra Sen to furnish  his
fresh and final response to the  judicial  observations  made  against  him.
After seeking more time for this purpose he furnished his response  on  28th
September, 2007 requesting that he may be allowed to resume duties  in  view
of the order of the Division Bench of Calcutta High Court.
13. Since I felt that a deeper probe  was  required  to  be  made  into  the
allegations made against Justice Soumitra Sen, to  bring  the  matter  to  a
logical conclusion, I constituted a three  Member  Committee  consisting  of
Justice A.P. Shah (Chief Justice, Madras High Court), Justice  A.K.  Patnaik
(Chief Justice, High  Court  of  Madhya  Pradesh)  and  Justice  R.M.  Lodha
(Judge, Rajasthan High Court), as  envisaged  in  the  'In-House  Procedure'
adopted by Supreme Court and various High Courts, to conduct a fact  finding
enquiry, wherein the Judge concerned would be entitled to  appear  and  have
his say in the proceedings.
14. The Committee submitted its  report  dated  1st  February,  2008,  after
calling for relevant records and considering the submission made by  Justice
Soumitra Sen, who appeared in-person before  the  Committee.  The  Committee
inter alia concluded that:
(a) Shri Soumitra Sen did not have honest  intention  right  from  the  year
1993 since he mixed the money received as a Receiver and his personal  money
and converted Receiver's money to his own use:
(b) There has  been  misappropriation  (at  least  temporary)  of  the  sale
proceeds since:
(i) he received Rs. 24,57,000/- between 25th February 1993 to 10th  January,
1995 but the balance in the Account No. 01SLPO632800 on 28th February,  1995
was only Rs. 8,83,963.05.
(i) a sum of Rs. 22,83,000/- was transferred by him  from  that  account  to
Account  No.  01SLPO813400  and,  thereafter,  almost  entire   amount   was
withdrawn in a couple of months reducing the balance to the bare minimum  of
Rs. 811.56, thus, diverting the entire sale proceeds for  his  own  use  and
with dishonest intention.
 he gave false explanation to the court that an amount of  Rs.  25,00,000/-
was invested from the account where the sale proceeds  were  kept,  whereas,
in fact, the amount of Rs. 25,00,000/- was withdrawn from Special  Officer's
Account No. 01SLPO813400 and  not  from  01SLPO632800,  in  which  the  sale
proceeds were deposited;
(d) mere monetary recompense under the compulsion  of  judicial  order  does
not obliterate breach of trust and misappropriation of Receiver's funds  for
his personal gain;
(e) the conduct of Shri Soumitra Sen  had  brought  disrepute  to  the  high
judicial office and dishonour to the institution of  judiciary,  undermining
the faith and confidence reposed by the  public  in  the  administration  of
justice.
In the opinion of the Committee misconduct disclosed is so serious  that  it
calls for initiation of proceedings for his removal.
15. A copy of the Report dated 6th  February,  2008  of  the  Committee  was
forwarded by me to Justice  Soumitra  Sen  and  in  terms  of  the  In-House
procedure,  he  was  advised  to  resign  or  seek   voluntary   retirement.
Thereupon, Justice Soumitra Sen made a detailed  representation  dated  25th
February, 2008 seeking reconsideration of the decision of  his  removal  and
sought a personal hearing. On 16th March, 2008  a  Collegium  consisting  of
myself, Justice B.N. Agrawal and Justice Ashok Bhan  (Seniormost  Judges  of
Supreme Court) gave a hearing to Justice Soumitra  Sen  and  reiterated  the
advice given to him to submit his resignation or seek  voluntary  retirement
on or before 2nd April, 2008. However, vide his  letter  dated  26th  March,
2008 Justice Soumitra Sen expressed his inability to tender  resignation  or
seek voluntary retirement.
In view of the foregoing, it is requested that proceedings  for  removal  of
Justice  Soumitra  Sen  be  initiated  in  accordance  with  the   procedure
prescribed in the Constitution.
With warm regards,
                                                             Yours sincerely
                                                                        Sd/-
                                                         (K.G. Balakrishnan)
Hon'ble Dr. Manmohan Singh,
Prime Minister of India,
7, Race Course Road,
New Delhi-110011."
Based on  the  communication  addressed  by  the  Chief  Justice  of  India,
impeachment  proceedings  were  actually  initiated  against   Mr.   Justice
Soumitra Sen, under Article 124 of the Constitution  of  India.   Consequent
upon his resignation, during the course of deliberation on  the  impeachment
proceedings in Parliament,  the  impeachment  proceedings  were  dropped  as
having been abated.
24.   It is, therefore, apparent that the seeds of the "in-house  procedure"
came to be sown in the judgment rendered by this Court in  C.  Ravinchandran
Iyer's case (supra).  It is also apparent, that actions have been  initiated
under the "in-house procedure", which has the approval of the Full Court  of
the Supreme Court of  India.   And,  based  on  the  afore-stated  "in-house
procedure",  impeachment  proceedings  were  actually   initiated   by   the
Parliament under Article 124  of  the  Constitution  of  India.   There  can
therefore be no doubt whatsoever, that in  the  above  situation,  the  "in-
house procedure" is firmly in place,  and  its  adoption  for  dealing  with
matters expressed by this Court in C. Ravichandran Iyer's  case  (supra)  is
now a reality.
25.    Despite  the  above  conclusion,  it  is  imperative  to  take   into
consideration the observations recorded by this Court in Indira  Jaising  v.
Registrar General, Supreme Court (2003) 5 SCC 494, as under:
"In our constitutional scheme it is not possible to vest the  Chief  Justice
of India with any control over the puisne  Judges  with  regard  to  conduct
either personal or judicial. In case of breach of any rule of  the  Code  of
Conduct, the Chief Justice can choose not to post cases before a  particular
Judge against whom there are  acceptable  allegations.  It  is  possible  to
criticise that decision on the ground that  no  enquiry  was  held  and  the
Judge concerned had no opportunity to  offer  his  explanation  particularly
when the Chief Justice is not vested with any  power  to  decide  about  the
conduct of a Judge. There is no adequate method or machinery to enforce  the
Code of Conduct. Article 124 provides for  appointment  of  Judges  of  this
Court  and  also  their  removal.  Similarly,  Article 217 deals  with   the
appointment and removal of the Judges of the  High  Court.  In  the  Judges'
Enquiry Act of 1968 provisions are made for investigation  into  misbehavior
or incapacity of a Judge. It may be noted that since Judges of the  superior
Courts occupy very high positions, disciplinary proceedings which  exist  in
the case of all other employees cannot be though of.
The Committee  referred  to  by  the  petitioner  is  stated  to  have  been
constituted as a part of In-House procedure. A Judge cannot be removed  from
his Office except by impeachment by a majority of the House and  a  majority
of   not   less   than   2/3rd   present   and   voting   as   provided   by
Articles 124 and217 of the Constitution of India. The Judges (Inquiry)  Act,
1968 has been enacted providing for the manner of  conducting  inquiry  into
the allegation of judicial conduct upon a Motion  of  Impeachment  sponsored
by at least 100 Lok Sabha members or 50 Rajya Sabha members.  The  Presiding
Officer of the concerned House has  the  power  to  constitute  a  Committee
consisting of three persons as enumerated  therein.  No  other  disciplinary
inquiry is envisaged or contemplated either under the Constitution or  under
the Act. On account of this lacuna In-House procedure has been  adopted  for
inquiry to be made by the peers of Judges for  report  to  the  Hon'ble  the
Chief Justice of India in case of a complaint against the Chief Justices  or
Judges of the High Court in order to find out truth of the  imputation  made
in the complaint and that In-House inquiry is for the  purpose  of  his  own
information and satisfaction.  A  report  made  on  such  inquiry  if  given
publicity will only lead to more  harm  than  good  to  the  institution  as
Judges would prefer to face inquiry leading to impeachment. In such  a  case
the only course open to the parties concerned if they have  material  is  to
invoke the provisions of Article 124 or Article 217 of the Constitution,  as
the case may be. It is not appropriate for the petitioner to  approach  this
Court for the relief or direction for release of the Report,  for  what  the
Chief Justice of India has done is only to get information from peer  Judges
of those who are accused and the report made to the Chief Justice  of  India
is wholly  confidential.  The  said  report  is  only  for  the  purpose  of
satisfaction of the Chief Justice of India  that  such  a  report  has  been
made. It is purely preliminary in nature, ad  hoc  and  not  final.  If  the
Chief Justice of India is satisfied that no further action is called for  in
the matter, the proceeding is closed. If any further action is to  be  taken
as indicated in the In-House procedure itself, the Chief  Justice  of  India
may take such further steps as he deems fit. Therefore, in the hierarchy  of
the courts, the Supreme Court does not have any  disciplinary  control  over
the High Court Judges,  much  less  the  Chief  Justice  of  India  has  any
disciplinary control over any of the Judges. That position in  law  is  very
clear. Thus, the only source or authority by  which  the  Chief  Justice  of
India can exercise this power of inquiry is moral  or  ethical  and  not  in
exercise of powers under any law.  Exercise  of  such  power  of  the  Chief
Justice of India based on moral authority cannot be made subject  matter  of
a writ petition to disclose a report made to him."
A perusal of the observations made by this Court in the  extract  reproduced
above, reveals that the existence of the  "in-house  procedure"  is  now  an
established means for inquiring into allegations levelled  against  a  judge
of a superior court, through his peers.  It is a  confidential  inquiry  for
institutional credibility under the charge of the Chief  Justice  of  India.
And therefore, its affairs  are  to  be  kept  out  of  public  domain.  The
proceedings under the above procedure being sensitive, are  required  to  be
inaccessible to third  parties.   And  therefore,  the  prayer  seeking  the
disclosure of the report submitted  on  the  culmination  of  the  "in-house
procedure" was declined.  The object sought to be addressed through the "in-
house procedure", is to address concerns of institutional  integrity.   That
would, in turn, sustain the confidence of  the  litigating  public,  in  the
efficacy of the judicial process.
26.   It is impermissible to publicly  discuss  the  conduct  of  a  sitting
judge, or to deliberate upon the performance of his duties, and  even  on/of
court behaviour, in public domain.  Whilst  the  "in-house  procedure"  lays
down means to determine the efficacy of the allegations levelled, it is  now
apparent, that the procedure is not toothless, in the  sense,  that  it  can
lead to impeachment  of  the  concerned  judge  under  Article  124  of  the
Constitution of India.  Such being the cause, effect  and  repercussions  of
the findings recorded during the course of the  "in-house  procedure",  this
Court in Indira Jaising's  case  (supra)  declined  to  entertain  the  writ
petition filed at the behest of  a  third  party,  seeking  details  of  the
proceedings, and the consequential  report  prepared  by  the  committee  of
judges.  But, that should not be understood  to  mean,  that  an  individual
concerned,  who  is  called  upon  to   subject   himself/herself   to   the
contemplated procedure,  should  be  precluded  or  prevented  from  seeking
judicial redress.  It  is  now  well  understood,  that  an  individual  who
subjects himself/herself to the jurisdiction of an  authority,  cannot  turn
around to find fault with it at a later juncture.  If there is a fault,  the
same should be corrected, before one accepts to submit to  the  jurisdiction
of the concerned  authority.   The  submission  of  the  petitioner  in  the
present case, to the "two-Judge Committee", would  certainly  have  had  the
above effect.  We are therefore  satisfied  to  hold,  that  those  who  are
liable to be affected by the outcome of the "in-house procedure",  have  the
right to seek judicial redressal, on account of  a  perceived  irregularity.
The irregularity may be on account of  the  violation  of  the  contemplated
procedure, or even because of contemplated bias or prejudice.  It may be  on
account of impropriety.  The challenge can extend to all subjects  on  which
judicial  review  can  be  sought.   The  objections  raised  on  behalf  of
respondent no.3, in respect of the sustainability of  the  instant  petition
at  the  hands  of  Addl.D&SJ  'X',  are  therefore  wholly  untenable.  The
challenge  to  the  maintainability  of  the  instant  writ   petition,   is
accordingly declined.
27.   The petitioner's pointed contention with reference  to  the  procedure
adopted, while giving effect to the "in-house  procedure"  approved  by  the
Full Court of the  Supreme  Court,  is  with  reference  to  the  clear  and
categoric  jurisdictional  authority,  exclusively  vested  with  the  Chief
Justice of the concerned High Court.   According  to  learned  counsel,  the
Chief Justice of  the  High  Court  is,  to  examine  the  veracity  of  the
allegations, at his own.  It  was  accordingly  submitted,  that  the  Chief
Justice of the High Court, had neither the jurisdiction  nor  authority,  to
constitute a committee  of  judges  to  hold  a  fact  finding  inquiry,  by
recording  statements  of  witnesses.   Pointing  out   to   the   procedure
contemplated in paragraph (1) of  the  "in-house  procedure"  (extracted  in
paragraph 22 herein above), it was submitted, that where the complaint  made
against a sitting judge of the High Court is received by the  Chief  Justice
of the High  Court,  "he"  is  required  to  examine  the  same.   On  "his"
examination, if the complaint is found to be frivolous or  directly  related
to the merits of a substantive decision in a judicial matter, or if it  does
not involve serious allegations of misconduct  or  impropriety,  "he"  shall
file the complaint and  inform  the  Chief  Justice  of  India  accordingly.
Alternatively, if it is found by "him", that the complaint is of  a  serious
nature involving misconduct or impropriety, "he" would seek the response  of
the concerned judge.  Based on the complaint and the  response,  "the  Chief
Justice of the High Court"  would  take  appropriate  action,  namely,  "he"
would file the complaint if "he" is satisfied  that  no  further  action  is
necessary.  However, if "he" considers  that  the  allegations  need  to  be
further probed, "he" would forward the complaint, and the  response  of  the
concerned judge, along with "his" comments to the Chief  Justice  of  India.
It was pointed out that the terms "he", "his" or "him",  have  a  reference,
exclusively to the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court.
28.   Referring to paragraph (2) of the "in-house procedure"  pertaining  to
a complaint against a sitting High Court Judge, i.e.,  in  situations  where
the complaint is received by the Chief Justice of India directly (or  it  is
forwarded to him by the President of India), the Chief Justice of India  may
file the complaint at his own, if it is found  by  "him",  i.e.,  the  Chief
Justice of India, that it is either frivolous or  directly  related  to  the
merits of a substantive decision in a judicial matter or  does  not  involve
any serious misconduct or impropriety.  In other cases, the complaint  shall
be forwarded by the Chief Justice of India  to  the  Chief  Justice  of  the
concerned High Court.  On the receipt of such complaint, the  Chief  Justice
of the High Court would seek the  response  of  the  concerned  judge.   The
consideration at the hands of the  Chief  Justice  of  the  High  Court,  is
limited to an examination of the complaint in conjunction with the  response
of the concerned judge.  Thereupon, the Chief  Justice  of  the  High  Court
could either be satisfied that no further action is called for, or "he"  may
entertain the opinion that the allegations contained in the  complaint  need
a deeper probe.   "he" shall return the complaint to the  Chief  Justice  of
India, along with the response of the concerned judge  and  "his"  comments.
It was pointed out, that even in paragraph (2) of the  "in-house  procedure"
the terms "he" and "his", have a reference exclusively to the Chief  Justice
of the High Court.
29.    Based  on  paragraphs  (1)  and  (2)  of  the  "in-house   procedure"
pertaining to complaint against a  sitting  High  Court  Judge,  it  is  the
contention of the learned counsel for the  petitioner,  that  the  procedure
does not envisage/contemplate, holding  of  a  full  fledged  inquiry.   The
jurisdiction vested in the Chief Justice of the High Court, under  the  "in-
house procedure", according to learned counsel, is limited  to  seeking  the
response of the concerned judge, and  thereupon,  in  case  the  allegations
contained in the complaint require a deeper probe, the Chief Justice of  the
High Court, is to forward the complaint  along  with  the  response  of  the
concerned High Court Judge, as well  as  his  own  comments,  to  the  Chief
Justice of India.  It is therefore, the contention of  the  learned  counsel
for the petitioner, that constitution of the "two-Judge  Committee",  to  be
assisted for secretarial purposes, by  a  senior  lady  Additional  District
Judge, was clearly beyond  the  authority  and  jurisdiction  of  the  Chief
Justice of the High Court, and that the same was in complete  violation  and
derogation of the "in-house procedure" approved by the  Full  Court  of  the
Supreme Court.
30.   It was also the contention of the learned counsel for the  petitioner,
that the action of  the  "two-Judge  Committee"  constituted  by  the  Chief
Justice of the High Court, requiring the petitioner  to  appear  before  the
Committee, along with relevant documents  in  relation  to  the  imputations
levelled by her, was also impermissible. It was pointed out, that the  "two-
Judge Committee" had not only required the petitioner's presence,  but  also
that of her daughter. It is further  submitted,  that  a  communication  was
addressed by the "two-Judge Committee" to  the  petitioner's  husband,  also
requiring him to remain present before the Committee.  All the  afore-stated
actions, according to the learned counsel for the petitioner, were in  clear
violation of the "in-house procedure", approved by the  Full  Court  of  the
Supreme Court.
31.   During the course of  hearing,  learned  counsel  for  the  petitioner
invited our attention, to the assertions made on behalf of respondent  no.3,
namely, that it was imperative for the "two-Judge Committee" constituted  by
the Chief Justice of the High Court, to verify the  factual  position,  from
the wife of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Gwalior, the District  Registrar,
Gwalior, the District Judge (Inspection), Gwalior,  as  also,  the  District
and Sessions Judge, Gwalior, since averments had been  made  with  reference
to all of them, in the complaint filed by  the  petitioner.   Responding  to
the aforesaid, it was submitted, that an inquiry extending  to  the  persons
referred to hereinabove, as also the staff attached to the  petitioner,  who
could be witnesses, to the acts of omission and commission  alleged  against
respondent  no.3,  were  also  clearly  beyond  the   scope   of   "in-house
procedure".
32.   It is also necessary for us to record, that the  submissions  advanced
at the hands of the learned counsel for the petitioner, to  demonstrate  the
responsibility of the Chief Justice of the High  Court,  with  reference  to
the "in-house procedure", was not contested by the learned counsel  for  the
respondents.  Whilst the stance adopted by  the  Registrar  General  of  the
High Court was, that the procedure adopted by the Chief Justice of the  High
Court, was based on the sensitivity involved in the matter.  In the  counter
affidavit filed on behalf of the Registrar General of the High Court, it  is
sought  to  be  averred,  that  even  though   the   "two-Judge   Committee"
constituted by the Chief Justice of the High Court had commenced to  inquire
into the matter, but the report thereof  was  not  submitted  to  the  Chief
Justice of the High Court, because of the  news  flashed  in  the  media  on
29.08.2014, about this  Court  having  stayed  further  proceedings  in  the
matter.  The issue under consideration is not whether the Chief  Justice  of
the High Court was well meaning, in constituting the  "two-Judge  Committee"
for inquiring into the matter.  The issue is, whether it  was  open  to  the
Chief Justice of the High Court, to constitute such a committee, within  the
framework of the "in-house procedure".  We are  satisfied,  that  the  Chief
Justice of the High Court, had no jurisdiction to do so,  in  terms  of  the
"in-house  procedure".   It  is  therefore,   that   the   learned   counsel
representing the High Court repeatedly  adopted  the  stance,  that  in  the
given facts and circumstances of the case,  the  High  Court  would  not  be
averse  to  following  any  procedure,  which  this  Court  would   consider
reasonable and proper. Learned Solicitor General representing the  Secretary
General of the Supreme Court, fully endorsed the above view.
33.   No  pointed  submission  was  advanced  by  the  counsel  representing
respondent no.3 - Justice 'A', on the main submission advanced at the  hands
of the learned counsel for the petitioner.  Learned counsel  for  respondent
no.3, in order to repudiate the submissions advanced at  the  hands  of  the
learned counsel for the petitioner, contended that the Chief  Justice  of  a
High Court, does not function under the administrative control of the  Chief
Justice of India.  It was, therefore pointed out,  that  while  adjudicating
on the issue being canvassed, it needed to be kept in mind, that  the  Chief
Justice of a High Court, is not subservient to the Chief Justice  of  India.
It   was   accordingly   asserted,   that   in   discharging   his   onerous
responsibility, the Chief Justice of a High Court, would (and should) be  at
liberty, to evolve a procedure, in the best interest of all  concerned.   It
was submitted, that the Chief  Justice  of  a  High  Court,  should  not  be
deprived of the said liberty, for the simple reason, that he has  to  ensure
fairness to the rival parties, and  at  the  same  time,  to  safeguard  the
dignity of the institution.  It was therefore, that learned counsel  advised
us, not to limit or place fetters on the discretion of the Chief Justice  of
the High  Court,  insofar  as  the  investigative  procedure  is  concerned.
Learned counsel submitted, that the procedure adopted by the  Chief  Justice
of the High Court, represented the ethical and moral authority of  the  High
Court, and as such, it would not be proper to interfere with the  same.   It
was submitted, that the petitioner  had  not  alleged,  that  the  procedure
adopted by the Chief Justice of the High Court,  was  unethical  or  morally
improper.  It was repeatedly pointed out, that the proceedings  assailed  by
the petitioner, had neither any statutory status, nor the force of law.   It
was submitted that the Chief Justice of the  High  Court  had  followed  the
procedure, he felt best for the purpose.  The  submissions  of  the  learned
counsel representing respondent no.3, we are  sure,  was  well  intentioned.
The response of the learned counsel avoids the issue being  canvassed.   The
response would be understandable if the Chief Justice of the High Court  had
adopted the procedure in question, because the "in-house  procedure",  would
not have been the proper  course  to  follow,  or  would  have  resulted  in
injustice to one or the either party.  But that is not the case here.
34.   We have given our thoughtful  consideration  to  the  main  contention
advanced at the hands of the learned counsel for  the  petitioner.   In  the
process of examining the "in-house procedure", we have had the  occasion  to
appreciate the invaluable contribution made by three Judges of  this  Court,
two of whom adorned this Court as Chief Justices, and two Chief Justices  of
High Courts, one of whom was later elevated as a Judge of this  Court.   The
"in-house  procedure",  did  not  overlook   any   relevant   aspect.    The
sensitivity of the matter was kept in mind.   The  individual  integrity  of
the parties was taken care of.  The parties  concerned  were  assured,  that
all efforts would be made to  unravel  the  truth.   The  procedure  devised
ensured the preservation of institutional reputation, as well.   In  dealing
with complaints made against sitting judges of  High  Courts,  the  onus  of
recording a prima facie view, was vested  with  the  Chief  Justice  of  the
concerned High Court.  Participation in the investigative  process,  at  the
hands of any other judge of the same High Court, was sought to be  excluded.
 The exclusion of judges of the same Court from the  investigative  process,
was also well thought out.   In  certain  situations  it  may  be  true,  as
pointed out by the learned counsel for the petitioner, that  judges  of  the
same Court being colleagues of  the  concerned  judge,  would  endeavour  to
exculpate him from his predicament.  It is not as  if,  the  position  could
not be otherwise.  Animosity amongst colleagues is not unknown.  Reasons  of
competitiveness, jealousy and the like are known amongst  colleague  judges,
specially from the same High Court.  By excluding judges  of  the  concerned
High Court (as the judge complained against), is bound to be beneficial,  in
both the situations, referred to above.   The  Chief  Justice  of  the  High
Court, being a Judge  from  another  State,  would  be  shorn  of  any  such
prejudices.  Moreover, being a man on the spot, he would be most suited  for
the purpose.
35.   A perusal of the "in-house procedure" applicable to sitting judges  of
High Courts reveals, that the same is  compartmentalized  into  two  stages.
Through the first stage,  the  prima  facie  veracity  of  the  allegations,
contained in the complaint is ascertained.  If so, whether  a  deeper  probe
is called for. The first stage does not contemplate an in-depth  examination
of the allegations.  It requires merely an assessment based on the  contents
of the complaint, and the response of the concerned  judge.   All  that  the
Chief Justice of the High Court is required to do, is to  determine  whether
a deeper probe is required.  This is to be done, on the basis of  a  logical
assessment made on a consideration of the response of  the  concerned  Judge
(with reference to the allegations levelled in the complaint).
36.   It is the second  stage  of  the  "in-house  procedure",  relating  to
sitting judges of High Courts, which could  lead  to  serious  consequences.
The second stage is monitored by none  other,  than  the  Chief  Justice  of
India.  Only if the Chief Justice of India endorses the  view  expressed  by
the Chief Justice of the High Court, that a deeper probe is called  for,  he
would  constitute  a  "three-member  Committee",  and   thereby   take   the
investigative process, to the second stage.  This Committee is  to  comprise
of two Chief Justices of High Courts (other than the concerned High  Court),
besides a Judge of a High Court.  The  second  stage,  postulates  a  deeper
probe.  Even though the "three-member Committee" is  at  liberty  to  devise
its own procedure, the  inherent  requirement  provided  for  is,  that  the
procedure evolved  should  be  in  consonance  with  the  rules  of  natural
justice.  Herein, for the first time, the authenticity of  the  allegations,
are to be probed, on the basis of an inquiry.  The incumbents of the "three-
member Committee", would have no nexus, with the concerned judge.  Not  only
would  the  concerned  judge  have  a  fair  opportunity  to  repudiate  the
allegations levelled against  him,  even  the  complainant  would  have  the
satisfaction, that the investigation would not  be  unfair.   The  "in-house
procedure" was devised to ensure  exclusion  of  favouritism,  prejudice  or
bias.
37.   By forwarding the complaint received by the  Chief  Justice  of  India
against respondent no.3 - Justice 'A', to the  Chief  Justice  of  the  High
Court, the "in-house procedure"  was  sought  to  be  put  in  motion.   The
extract of the "in-house procedure" (applicable to sitting  Judges  of  High
Court),  reproduced  in  paragraph  22  above  reveals,  that  the  same  is
expressed in the simplest possible words.  For  recording  our  conclusions,
we have endeavoured to explain the same through "seven  steps"  contemplated
therein.  The description of the "in-house procedure", relating  to  sitting
High Court Judges, is being narrated hereunder, stepwise:
Step one:   (i) A complaint may be received, against a sitting  Judge  of  a
High Court, by the Chief Justice of that High Court;
(ii)        A complaint may also be received, against a sitting Judge  of  a
High Court, by the Chief Justice of India;
(iii) A complaint may even be received against a sitting  Judge  of  a  High
Court, by the President of India.  Such a complaint  is  then  forwarded  to
the Chief Justice of India;
In case of (i) above, the Chief Justice of the High Court shall examine  the
contents of the complaint, at his own, and if  the  same  are  found  to  be
frivolous, he shall file the same.
In case of (ii) and (iii) above, the Chief Justice of India shall  similarly
examine the contents of the complaint, by  himself,  and  if  the  same  are
found to be frivolous, he shall file the same.
Step two:   (i) The Chief Justice of the High Court, after  having  examined
a complaint, may entertain a feeling, that the  complaint  contains  serious
allegations, involving misconduct or impropriety, which  require  a  further
probe;
(ii)        The Chief Justice of India,  on  examining  the  contents  of  a
complaint, may likewise entertain a feeling,  that  the  complaint  contains
serious allegations, involving misconduct or impropriety,  which  require  a
further probe;
In case of (i) above, the Chief Justice of the  High  Court,  shall  seek  a
response from the concerned Judge, and nothing more.
In case of (ii) above,  the  Chief  Justice  of  India,  shall  forward  the
complaint to the Chief Justice of the High Court.  The Chief Justice of  the
High Court, shall then  seek  a  response  from  the  concerned  Judge,  and
nothing more.
Step three: The  Chief  Justice  of  the  High  Court,  shall  consider  the
veracity of the allegations contained  in  the  complaint,  by  taking  into
consideration the response of the concerned Judge.  The above  consideration
will lead the Chief Justice of the  High  Court,  to  either  of  the  below
mentioned inferences:
(i)   The Chief Justice of the High Court,  may  arrive  at  the  inference,
that the allegations are frivolous.  In the instant eventuality,  the  Chief
Justice of the High Court shall forward his opinion to the Chief Justice  of
India.
(ii)  Or alternatively, the Chief Justice of the High Court, may  arrive  at
the opinion, that the complaint requires a  deeper  probe.  In  the  instant
eventuality, the  Chief  Justice  of  the  High  Court,  shall  forward  the
complaint, along with the response of the Judge concerned, as also  his  own
consideration, to the Chief Justice of India.
Step four:  The Chief Justice of India shall then examine,  the  allegations
contained in the complaint, the response of the concerned Judge, along  with
the consideration of the Chief Justice  of  the  High  Court.   If  on  such
examination, the Chief Justice of India, concurs with  the  opinion  of  the
Chief Justice of the High Court (that a deeper probe is required,  into  the
allegations contained in the complaint), the Chief Justice of  India,  shall
constitute a "three-member Committee", comprising of two Chief  Justices  of
High Courts (other than the High Court, to which  the  Judge  belongs),  and
one High Court Judge, to hold an inquiry, into the allegations contained  in
the complaint.
Step five:  The "three-member Committee" constituted by  the  Chief  Justice
of  India,  shall  conduct  an  inquiry,  by  devising  its  own  procedure,
consistent with the rules of natural justice.  On  the  culmination  of  the
inquiry, conducted by the "three-member  Committee",  it  shall  record  its
conclusions.   The  report  of  the  "three-member   Committee",   will   be
furnished, to the Chief Justice of India.  The report could lead to  one  of
the following conclusions:
That, there  is  no  substance  in  the  allegations  levelled  against  the
concerned Judge; or that there is sufficient substance  in  the  allegations
levelled against the concerned  Judge.  In  such  eventuality,  the  "three-
member Committee", must  further  opine,  whether  the  misconduct  levelled
against the concerned Judge is so serious, that it  requires  initiation  of
proceedings for removal of the concerned Judge;  or  that,  the  allegations
contained in the complaint are not serious enough to require  initiation  of
proceedings for the removal of the concerned Judge.
In case of (i) above, the Chief Justice of India, shall file the  complaint.
In case of (ii) above, the report of  the  "three-member  Committee",  shall
also be furnished (by the Committee) to the concerned Judge.
Step six:    If  the  "three-member  Committee"  constituted  by  the  Chief
Justice of India, arrives at the conclusion,  that  the  misconduct  is  not
serious enough, for  initiation  of  proceedings  for  the  removal  of  the
concerned Judge, the Chief Justice  of  India  shall  advise  the  concerned
Judge, and may also direct, that the report of the "three-member  Committee"
be placed on record.  If the "three-member Committee"  has  concluded,  that
there is substance in the allegations, for initiation  of  proceedings,  for
the removal of the  concerned  Judge,  the  Chief  Justice  of  India  shall
proceed as under:-
(i)   The concerned judge will be advised, by the Chief  Justice  of  India,
to resign or to seek voluntary retirement.
(ii)  In case the concerned Judge does not accept the advice  of  the  Chief
Justice of India, the Chief  Justice  of  India,  would  require  the  Chief
Justice of the concerned High Court, not to allocate any judicial  work,  to
the concerned Judge.
Step seven: In the eventuality of the concerned Judge, not  abiding  by  the
advice of the Chief Justice  of  India,  the  Chief  Justice  of  India,  as
indicated in step six above, the Chief Justice of India, shall intimate  the
President of India, and the Prime Minister of India, of the findings of  the
"three-member Committee", warranting initiation of proceedings, for  removal
of the concerned judge.
38.   It is apparent from the "seven steps", of  the  "in-house  procedure",
for sitting High Court Judges, that the role of the  Chief  Justice  of  the
High Court, is limited to the first three steps.   We  are  satisfied,  that
the main contention advanced by the  learned  counsel  for  the  petitioner,
relying on the "in-house procedure" is fully justified.   There  can  be  no
doubt, that it was not open to the Chief Justice of the High  Court,  either
to constitute the  "two-Judge  Committee",  or  to  require  the  "two-Judge
Committee", to hold an inquiry into the matter, by recording  statements  of
witnesses.  The role of the Chief Justice of the High Court,  being  limited
to the first stage of the  investigative  process,  during  which  the  only
determination is, whether a prima facie case is made out requiring a  deeper
probe; the Chief Justice of  the  High  Court  had  exceeded  the  authority
vested in him under the "in-house procedure".  It  is  only  in  the  second
stage of the investigative process, that the Chief Justice of India,  is  to
constitute a "three-member Committee" for holding a deeper probe,  into  the
allegations levelled in the complaint.  Learned counsel for the  petitioner,
was  fully  justified,  in  submitting,  that  the   "two-Judge   Committee"
constituted by the Chief Justice of the High Court, was beyond  the  purview
of the "in-house procedure".
39.   Having examined the facts and circumstances of the  case,  we  are  of
the view, that by not strictly abiding by the procedure  contemplated  under
the "in-house procedure" evolved by this Court, the  Chief  Justice  of  the
High Court, introduced serious infirmities  in  the  investigative  process.
These infirmities were of the nature which were  sought  to  be  consciously
avoided under the "in-house procedure".   We  may  mention  a  few.   It  is
apparent,  that  the  "in-house  procedure"  contemplated   an   independent
holistic two-stage process.  We have described hereinabove, that  the  first
stage comprises of steps 'one' to 'three'.  The first stage is limited to  a
prima facie consideration, at the hands of the Chief  Justice  of  the  High
Court, for determining whether a deeper probe into the matter was  required.
 The first stage  of  the  "in-house  procedure"  contemplates  the  implied
exclusion of colleague Judges, from the same High  Court.   In  the  process
adopted by the Chief Justice of the High Court, he has consciously  involved
colleague Judges, of the same High Court.  This was  sought  to  be  avoided
under the "in-house procedure".  Unfortunately, what Chief  Justice  of  the
High Court has embarked upon, is not a  prima  facie  determination,  but  a
holistic consideration of the allegations. This is also wholly  contrary  to
the "in-house  procedure".   The  Chief  Justice  of  the  High  Court,  has
actually embarked upon steps 'four' to 'seven', which  are  a  part  of  the
second stage of the "in-house procedure".  The  second  stage  of  the  "in-
house procedure" envisages a deeper probe, which is to be monitored  by  the
Chief Justice of India himself.  If  the  proceedings  move  to  the  second
stage,  the  Chief  Justice  of  India,  would  nominate   a   "three-member
Committee".  In the process adopted by the Chief Justice of the High  Court,
he has usurped the investigative  process,  assigned  to  the  "three-member
Committee".  The Chief Justice of the High  Court,  has  himself,  commenced
the deeper probe, through the  "two-Judge  Committee".   Furthermore,  under
the second stage, the inquiry is  to  be  conducted  by  two  sitting  Chief
Justices of High Courts,  and  one  Judge  of  a  High  Court.   An  inquiry
conducted by  the  "three-member  Committee",  in  terms  of  the  "in-house
procedure", would have a  wholly  different  impact.   Not  only  would  the
concerned parties feel reassured, that  justice  would  be  done,  even  the
public at large would be confident, that  the  outcome  would  be  fair  and
without any prejudices.  By doing so, the Chief Justice of the  High  Court,
ignored the wisdom of the Committee of Judges,  who  devised  the  "in-house
procedure", as also, the determination of the  Full  Court  of  the  Supreme
Court of India.  In the procedure adopted, by the Chief Justice of the  High
Court in the instant case, it is possible for one  or  the  other  party  to
feel, that he/she may not  get  justice  at  the  hands  of  the  "two-Judge
Committee".  In fact, that is exactly the position,  in  the  present  case.
For the reasons recorded hereinabove, the proceedings adopted by  the  Chief
Justice of the High Court  are  liable  to  be  set  aside.   The  same  are
accordingly hereby set aside.
40.   The next contention of the learned counsel  for  the  petitioner  was,
that the inquiry conducted by the "two-Judge Committee", constituted by  the
Chief Justice of the High Court, cannot be expected  to  arrive  at  a  fair
conclusion.  That by itself, according  to  learned  counsel,  vitiates  the
entire proceedings.  The instant submission was sought to  be  supported  on
two counts.  Firstly, it was the submission of the learned counsel  for  the
petitioner, that all the persons and officers through  whom  the  petitioner
is to substantiate her allegations, are subordinate  to  respondent  no.3  -
Justice 'A'.  It was pointed out, that Justice 'A' exercises  administrative
superintendence and control over them.  It was also the  submission  of  the
learned counsel for the petitioner, that even persons  who  would  vouchsafe
the veracity of the assertions made by respondent no. 3 - Justice  'A',  are
under the administrative supervision and control of respondent  no.  3,  and
as such, they too cannot be expected to make statements, freely and  without
fear.  Secondly, it was the  contention  of  the  learned  counsel  for  the
petitioner, that the "two-Judge Committee" constituted by the Chief  Justice
of the High Court, comprised of colleagues  of  respondent  no.3  -  Justice
'A', and as such, the said committee  may  not  be  open-minded  enough,  to
affirm the claim of the petitioner.  In this behalf, it was  the  submission
of the learned counsel, that the endeavour  of  the  "two-Judge  Committee",
would be  to  exculpate  their  colleague,  from  the  allegations  levelled
against him.  Accordingly, it was the  assertion  of  the  learned  counsel,
that the "two-Judge Committee" required to inquire into the matter,  by  the
Chief Justice of the High Court, was wholly unsuited for inquiring into  the
allegations levelled by the petitioner.
41.   It is not necessary for us, to delve into the contention  advanced  at
the hands of the learned counsel for the petitioner, as has been noticed  in
the foregoing paragraph, for the simple reason,  that  while  accepting  the
main contention advanced at the  hands  of  the  learned  counsel,  we  have
already concluded, that the procedure adopted by the Chief  Justice  of  the
High Court, is liable to be set aside.  Be that as it may,  we  consider  it
just and appropriate to deal with the above contention, so  that  the  issue
canvassed  is  crystallized,  by  an  effective  determination  for   future
reference.  There can be no doubt, that  an  investigation,  would  lead  to
consequences. The concerned judge may be found remiss, or alternatively,  he
may be exculpated of the charges. Whilst  in  the  former  eventuality,  the
concerned judge against  whom  the  findings  are  recorded,  would  be  the
obvious sufferer.  In  the  latter  eventuality,  the  adverse  consequences
would be against the complainant, for it  would  be  assumed  that  she  had
levelled unfounded  allegations.   It  is  therefore  imperative,  that  the
procedure adopted for the investigative process, is absolutely fair for  all
concerned.  The procedure should be such as would ensure, that it  would  be
shorn of favouritism, prejudice or bias.  Presence of any one of the  above,
would vitiate the entire investigative process.  Recording of statements  of
individuals,  who  are  subservient  to  respondent  no.3  -  Justice   'A',
irrespective of whether  the  statements  are  recorded  on  behalf  of  the
complainant or  the  concerned  judge,  would  most  definitely  render  the
investigative process unsustainable in law.  The influence of the  concerned
judge, over the witnesses to be produced, either by the  complainant  or  by
the concerned judge himself, will have to be removed.  It will  be  for  the
complainant, to raise a grievance of the nature referred to above.  In  such
an eventuality, the grievance will be considered by  the  Chief  Justice  of
India.  And whenever necessary, remedial steps will be taken.
42.   The last contention of the learned counsel  for  the  petitioner  was,
that the Chief Justice of the High Court himself, is clearly  incapacitated,
to be a party to any  determinative  process,  insofar  as  the  allegations
levelled by the petitioner are concerned.  It  was  the  contention  of  the
learned counsel, that for the present case, the Chief Justice  of  the  High
Court, should not even be required to determine, whether  or  not  a  deeper
probe into the matter was required.  Insofar as the instant  aspect  of  the
matter  is  concerned,  learned  counsel  vehemently  contended,  that   the
petitioner had made numerous efforts to meet the Chief Justice of  the  High
Court, to apprise him of the factual position.  It was pointed out, that  in
the petitioner's efforts to meet the Chief Justice of the  High  Court,  she
had also made repeated attempts to do so, through the Private  Secretary  of
the Chief Justice.  The Private Secretary has now assumed the  stance,  that
the petitioner  had  never  contacted  him,  for  the  said  purpose.   This
position, according to the petitioner, is false not only  to  the  knowledge
of the Private Secretary, but also, to the knowledge of all  concerned.   It
is sought to be emphasized, that a press note  was  also  released,  to  the
aforesaid effect, at the behest of the Chief  Justice  of  the  High  Court.
The position adopted by the Chief Justice of the High  Court,  according  to
the learned counsel, clearly reveals a position of  denial  of  the  factual
assertions made by the petitioner.  In the above view of the matter, it  was
the contention of the learned counsel for  the  petitioner,  that  even  the
Chief Justice of the High Court, was in denial of the facts asserted by  the
petitioner.  And by doing so, the  Chief  Justice  of  the  High  Court  had
rendered himself ineligible, for any role arising out of the complaint  made
by the petitioner.
43.   It is  essential  for  us  to  record  a  finding  even  on  the  last
contention advanced at the  hands  of  the  learned  counsel.   We  say  so,
because according to the learned counsel for the petitioner,  it  would  not
be proper, in the facts and circumstances of this case,  to  reinitiate  the
process expressed in the "in-house procedure", through the Chief Justice  of
the High Court.  It seems  to  us,  that  there  is  merit  in  the  instant
contention.  Undoubtedly, the Chief Justice of the High Court has adopted  a
position, in respect  of  some  aspects  of  the  matter,  contrary  to  the
position asserted by the petitioner.  Truthfully, even  though  these  facts
do  not  have  any  direct  bearing  on  the  allegations  levelled  against
respondent no. 3, yet when examined dispassionately, the fact of the  matter
is that the Chief Justice of the High Court,  personally  perceived  certain
facts differently.  These facts are personal to the  Chief  Justice  of  the
High Court, namely, whether attempts were made by  the  petitioner  to  meet
the Chief Justice of the High Court, and whether he declined such  attempts.
 In the above view of the matter, we are of the  considered  view,  that  it
may not be appropriate, in the facts and circumstances of the present  case,
to associate the Chief Justice of the  High  Court  with  the  investigative
process.  It is not as if, there is any lack of faith, in the Chief  Justice
of the High Court.  It is also not as if, there is any doubt  in  our  mind,
about the righteousness of the Chief Justice of the High Court.   The  issue
is that of propriety.  To the credit  of  the  Chief  Justice  of  the  High
Court, we may also observe, that he may have adopted the present  procedure,
just for the reasons indicated above, namely, to keep  himself  out  of  the
fact finding process, so as to arrive at a  fair  and  just  decision.   But
that  is  inconsequential.   We  are  accordingly   further   satisfied   in
concluding, that following the "in-house procedure" strictly by  associating
the Chief  Justice  of  the  concerned  High  Court,  would  not  serve  the
contemplated purpose, insofar as the present controversy is concerned.
44.   We have concluded  hereinabove,  that  it  is  no  longer  viable,  to
strictly follow the "in-house procedure" contemplated for sitting judges  of
the High Court de novo.  That however, does not mean, that it is  no  longer
possible to determine the  veracity  of  the  allegations  levelled  by  the
petitioner.  What procedure must be followed in the facts and  circumstances
of the present case, will have to be determined  by  the  Chief  Justice  of
India.  We therefore, leave it to the Chief Justice  of  India,  to  take  a
fresh call on the matter.  All that needs to  be  done  is,  that  the  role
assigned to the Chief Justice of the concerned  High  Court,  in  the  first
stage of the "in-house procedure", will now have to be assigned to some  one
other than the Chief Justice of the  concerned  High  Court.   In  taking  a
decision on the matter, the Chief Justice of  India  may  assign  the  above
role to a Chief Justice, of some other High  Court.   Or  alternatively,  he
may himself assume the said role.  The assumption of the role by  the  Chief
Justice of India himself, would not be unrealistic,  as  the  said  role  is
vested with the Chief Justice of  India,  under  the  "in-house  procedure",
with reference  to  complaints  received  against  Chief  Justices  of  High
Courts.
45.   In view of the consideration and the  findings  recorded  hereinabove,
we may record our general conclusions as under:
(i)         The "in-house procedure" framed by this Court,  consequent  upon
the decision  rendered  in  C.  Ravichandran  Iyer's  case  (supra)  can  be
adopted, to examine allegations levelled  against  Judges  of  High  Courts,
Chief Justices of High Courts and Judges of the Supreme Court of India.
(ii)        The investigative process under the "in-house  procedure"  takes
into consideration the rights of the complainant, and that of the  concerned
judge,  by  adopting  a  fair  procedure,  to  determine  the  veracity   of
allegations levelled  against  a  sitting  Judge.   At  the  same  time,  it
safeguards the integrity of the judicial institution.
(iii) Even though the said  procedure,  should  ordinarily  be  followed  in
letter and spirit, the Chief Justice of India, would have the  authority  to
mould the same, in the facts and circumstances of a given  case,  to  ensure
that the investigative  process  affords  safeguards,  against  favouritism,
prejudice or bias.
(iv)  In  view  of  the  importance  of  the  "in-house  procedure",  it  is
essential to bring it into public  domain.   The  Registry  of  the  Supreme
Court of India, is accordingly directed, to place the same on  the  official
website of the Supreme Court of India.
46.   In the facts and circumstances of the present  case,  our  conclusions
are as under:
With reference to the "in-house procedure" pertaining to a judge of  a  High
Court, the limited authority of the Chief  Justice  of  the  concerned  High
Court, is to determine whether or not a deeper probe is required.  The  said
determination is a part of stage-one (comprising of the first  three  steps)
of the "in-house procedure" (elucidated in paragraph 37, hereinabove).   The
Chief Justice of the High Court, in the present case,  traveled  beyond  the
determinative authority vested in him,  under  stage-one  of  the  "in-house
procedure".
The  Chief  Justice  of  the  High  Court,  by  constituting  a   "two-Judge
Committee", commenced an in-depth probe, into the  allegations  levelled  by
the petitioner.  The procedure adopted by the  Chief  Justice  of  the  High
Court, forms a part of the second stage (contemplated under  steps  four  to
seven -elucidated in paragraph 37, hereinabove).  The second  stage  of  the
"in-house procedure" is to be carried out, under the authority of the  Chief
Justice of India.  The Chief Justice of the High  Court  by  constituting  a
"two-Judge  Committee"   clearly   traversed   beyond   his   jurisdictional
authority, under the "in-house procedure".
In order to ensure, that the investigative process is fair and just,  it  is
imperative to divest the concerned  judge  (against  whom  allegations  have
been levelled), of his administrative and supervisory authority and  control
over witnesses, to be produced either on behalf of the  complainant,  or  on
behalf of the concerned judge himself.  The Chief Justice of the High  Court
is accordingly directed to divest respondent no.3  -  Justice  'A',  of  the
administrative  and  supervisory  control  vested  in  him,  to  the  extent
expressed above.
The Chief Justice of the High Court, having  assumed  a  firm  position,  in
respect  of  certain  facts  contained  in  the  complaint  filed   by   the
petitioner, ought not to be associated with the "in-house procedure" in  the
present case.  In the above view of the matter, the Chief Justice  of  India
may reinitiate the investigative process, under  the  "in-house  procedure",
by vesting the authority required to be discharged by the Chief  Justice  of
the concerned High Court, to a Chief Justice of some other  High  Court,  or
alternatively, the Chief Justice of India may himself assume the said role.
47.   Liberty was sought by the  learned  counsel  for  the  petitioner,  to
raise all remaining issues raised in the writ petition, through  a  separate
petition.  Leave and liberty sought, is granted.  The  instant  petition  is
disposed of, in the above terms.
.................................J.
                                             (Jagdish Singh Khehar)
.................................J.
                                             (Arun Mishra)
New Delhi;
December 18, 2014.
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