Monday, June 27News That Matters

Supreme Court takes suo motu note of alleged killing of Jharkhand judge

Satya Prakash
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 30

A day after a judicial officer was allegedly killed in Dhanbad, Jharkhand, the Supreme Court on Friday took suo motu cognisance of the matter and directed the state’s Chief Secretary and Director General of Police to submit a status report on the probe into it within a week.

A Bench led by Chief Justice of India NV Ramana, however, clarified that the Jharkhand HC would continue to monitor the case while it would like to deal with the larger issue of safety and security of judicial officers across India.

“We want to be appraised of the investigation status,” it said, adding Jharkhand Chief Secretary and DGP of the state would also give details of the law and order situation in and around court premises in the state.

District and Sessions Judge-8 of Dhanbad Court, Uttam Anand, was out on a morning walk at around 5 am on Thursday when he was hit by a vehicle from behind near the district court, reports quoting the local police said.

He was found lying in a pool of blood by an auto-rickshaw driver, who took him to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries, reports said. A purported CCTV footage of the incident suggested Anand was deliberately hit from behind.

The Bench said it has come across several instances of attack on judicial officers and lawyers inside and outside the court premises and wanted to address the larger issue of safety and security of judicial officers.

The top court said it’s the duty of states to protect judicial officers and lawyers to make them function independently and fearlessly while endeavouring to dispense justice.

The CJI said on the next date of hearing it would consider issuing notices to all states and union territories in the matter.

On Thursday, senior advocate and Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) president Vikas Singh had brought it to the notice of the Bench that a judicial officer has been allegedly killed in Dhanbad, Jharkhand — after he refused to grant bail to a gangster.

Terming it a “brazen attack” on the independence of the judiciary, Singh had said an investigation into it must be entrusted to the CBI as the killing of a judicial officer ndash; allegedly for declining bail to a gangster — was an assault on the judicial system.

“We are aware of the incident and we appreciate the efforts of the SCBA. I have spoken to the Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court. He has taken up the case and has asked the officers to be present there. The matter is going on there. Leave it there,” CJI Ramana had told Singh.

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