Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Supreme Court to hear Aurangabad District Judge Assault case on 15 January

On December 16, 2020, Supreme Court's three-judge bench headed by Justice AM Khanwilkar comprising of Justices B R Gavai and Krishna Murari sought the response of the Bihar government on a plea demanding judicial inquiry into physical attack on Dr. Dinesh Kumar Pradhan, a Bihar District judge by a police sub-inspector. The court has issued notice to the State of Bihar and posted the case for further hearing after 4 weeks in Vishal Tiwari vs. Union of India. The case was filed on November 2, 2020. It was registered on November 4, 2020 with Writ Petition.(Criminal) No.345/ 2020. It was verified on November, 2020. Union of India, State of Bihar, Director General of Police, Bihar and Superintendent of Police, Aurangabad are the respondents. The Sub-Inspector in question too has been impleaded as a respondent after Court had ordered petitioner, advocate Vishal Tiwari to do so. Upon  hearing the petitioner the Court passed an order which reads: "Application for impleadment is allowed. Cause-title be amended accordingly. Issue notice to the respondents, including the newly added respondents, returnable in four weeks." 

Earlier, on November 26, the Bench of Justices Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi had ordered: "Permission to appear and argue in person is granted. As prayed, petitioner is permitted to amend the petition to implead the concerned party as party-respondent(s) and also to file additional documents."

The Office Report of the Supreme Court dated November 26, 2020 states that " It is submitted that the instant matter pertains to petitioner-in-person, who is an Advocate and member of Supreme Court Bar Association.  It was telephonically communicated to petitioner-in-person regarding the date of hearing of matter."

The writ was filed in the aftermath of attack on District Judge in Bihar's Aurangabad seeking appropriate directions against the errant police officials who were allegedly involved in assaulting the District Judge, Dr. Dinesh Kumar Pradhan.

"Strict action must be taken against those involved in such kind of acts. This is an attack not against a judge, but on the judiciary," Vishal Tiwari has sought direction from the Supreme Court to set up a two-member inquiry commission in the matter for collecting the facts and evidence and for recording the evidence. He has prayed inclusion of sitting High Court judges in the inquiry commission who shall submit the report within a month and to initiate criminal contempt proceedings and punishment under The Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, against the erring police officials. He is seeking appropriate directions for punishing the higher police officials (Director General of Police, Bihar, Superintendent of Police, Aurangabad) for their alleged inaction. The prime accused is a Sub Inspector named Pranav of the Town police station, Aurangabad who allegedly abused, threatened, assaulted and attacked Pradhan, when he was on his evening walk on October 21. The Sub Inspector accompanied by paramilitary personnel was a flag march that time. It has been found that Pranav had a grudge against the judicial officer, Pradhan, as he had taken action against him and a few other police officers for dereliction of duty a few months back when he was the Aurangabad chief judicial magistrate.

The unprecedented, unwarranted assault and intimidation took place on October 21, 2020. Bihar Judicial Services Association and Association for Judges, Gujarat has condemned the incident. The Bihar Judicial Services Association wrote a letter to Bihar DGP on October 24, 2020  seeking action against erring officers. .The case is likely to be heard again in the Supreme Court on January 15, 2021. 

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