division bench of Justices VM Velumani and R Hemalatha recently passed the orders for probing the district judge on a writ petition filed by the restaurant owner.
Madras HC orders vigilance enquiry against district judge
The Following allegations raised against a district judge for passing “oral” orders to shut a restaurant in the Nilgiris without going into the merits of a pending appeal before him, the Madras High Court has ordered an enquiry by the High Court’s Vigilance authorities.
A division bench of Justices VM Velumani and R Hemalatha recently passed the orders for probing the district judge on a writ petition filed by the restaurant owner.
“In view of the affidavit filed by the 1st respondent (BDO), the matter is referred to the Special Officer, Vigilance Cell, to conduct an enquiry and file a report before the Vigilance Committee as well as before this Court. If the report is found to be against the judicial officer concerned, the committee may proceed against him in accordance with law,” the order stated.
The bench also transferred the case from the court of the concerned district judge to Mahila Court, after recording the submission of the counsel for the petitioner that “the district judge is acting in a manner unknown to law.”
The matter pertains to a writ petition, filed by 63-year-old SA Manian, district, alleging that his restaurant premises was “locked and sealed” on January 20, 2023 by the village panchayat authorities based on an order passed by the block development officer (BDO) of K for alleged violations of the norms of the local authorities as per the “oral instructions” of the district judge.
The petitioner contended that the action for lock and seal was taken without giving him a show cause and ignoring the fact that he had already obtained the necessary approvals from the local authorities; and the district judge had issued the “oral instructions” on a false suit (appeal) without deciding the merits and the maintainability. The appeal was filed by J Ravikumar and S Jayachandran belonging to ‘The Wildlife, Nature, Environment Lovers of the General Public of Nilgiris District’.
He also pointed out that a similar petition was dismissed by a subordinate court in 2016 finding it not maintainable, and without locus standi.
The district judge submitted an explanation before the division bench on February 10, 2023 denying that he had not given any oral instructions to the BDO to lock and seal the restaurant but only directed the official respondents to file a status report.
However, the BDO, in his affidavit, told the court that the district judge, after making certain remarks against him, orally instructed to lock and seal the premises. He also enlisted the name of nine officials, including the district government pleader (GP) belonging to different government departments who were present during the proceedings in the court.
Taking into account the contents of the affidavit of the BDO, the bench ordered the Vigilance probe.