SC says judicial officers must feel safe, asks HC to monitor judge death probe

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday told the CBI though it has filed a status report, in a sealed cover, of its probe into alleged murder of Dhanbad ADJ Uttam Anand, but there was nothing concrete, and directed the investigating agency to file a weekly status report before the Jharkhand High Court.

A bench headed by Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, and comprising Justices Vineet Saran and Surya Kant, told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the CBI, that: “There is nothing in the sealed cover. We wanted something concrete. Seizing of vehicle and arrest was done by the state police. Your people have not pointed out anything about motive and reason.”

The bench noted apart from the specific incident in question, it had also taken up this matter to take note of attempt to resolve the alarming situation in the country where judicial officers and lawyers are being pressurised and intimidated by threats of, and/or actual violence. “There is, therefore, an institutional need to create an environment where judicial officers feel safe and secure,” it said.

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Mehta submitted that persons, who were driving the auto that hit the judge during his morning jog on July 28, have been arrested and details will come out into the matter.

The bench asked the Jharkhand High Court to continue monitoring the matter every week.

“Taking into account the gravity of the matter, we deem it appropriate to direct the Central Bureau of Investigation to file a report before the High Court of Jharkhand every week and we further request the Chief Justice of the said High Court to monitor the investigation,” it said in its order.

“Let the present matter be taken up along with writ petition, which is a matter pertaining to the security of judicial officers wherein we have already issued notice to the states and the Union of India with a direction to file replies, if the same are not already placed on record.”

The top court, on July 30, had decided to examine a larger issue of safety and security of judges across the country, following the alleged mowing down of Dhanbad judge, who was handling cases related to gangsters, by an auto-rickshaw as he was on his morning walk.

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