The Meghalaya High Court on Thursday directed the police chiefs of the state as well as Uttar Pradesh to investigate activities of the Sarv Seva Trust and its leader Girish Narain Pande after he sought replies from Chief Justice Uma Nath Singh on spreading awareness about the constitution.
A division bench of Chief Justice Singh and Justice S.R. Sen also directed the two police chiefs to ensure the appearance of Pande, who claimed to be a retired member of an all India service, in the court on the next hearing (OCtober 13).
The police chiefs were also asked to find out whether Pande was in a sound state mentally, as no senior bureaucrat, as he claims to have been, could ever indulge in correspondence of his kind to the chief justice.
“We may also make it clear that there shall be strict compliance of the order, failing which, the law will take its course also against the police officers asked to carry out the directions,” the bench warned.
Pande in his letter from Lucknow dated September 17, 2015, asked six questions on the spread of awareness about the constitution.
These included: “Is it not your duty to make people of this country aware about the constitution as you have taken the oath of the constitution before occupying the honourable chair?” and “If it is your duty to make people of this country aware about the Constitution, what has been done by you in this regard so far?”
Noting he expected a positive answer to all six questions, Pande said that he was enclosing a postal order for Rs.10 as required under the RTI Act.
However, the court took umbrage, holding the “text, tenor and tone of the letter appear to be offensive”, and it “can be misinterpreted to mean that the respondent wields the clout to control the judiciary”.
It said that though Pande claims to be a former government official, “he appears to lack the basic knowledge of law and primary courtesy” as to how to address letters to constitutional authorities.
The bench said he thinks that, upon retirement, he was a free citizen with all rights and no legal obligations, little realising that his pension which he was getting from public exchequer was also subject to keeping good character and obeisance to law.
Noting postal order enclosed along with the letter, was “capable of being misused and misunderstood” and could “tarnish” the image of the chief justice as well as the high court, the bench said that sending such a letter “provides a sufficient ground to proceed against the respondent.”
Noting that from the literature enclosed with the letter, it appeared that Pande was running a charitable trust, granted exemption under the Income Tax Act, it said it could be “an attempt to seek approval of the chief justice and judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts in respect of illegal activities of the respondent and his trust which he wants to veil, as is usually heard of, in respect of donations received by such organisations”.
“The very fact that the respondent has sought information in a highly improper and bullying manner that would go to suggest that the letter is designed to achieve some oblique motive,” it added.