Case Title: The Registrar General High Court of Karnataka &Anr v. Sri M.Narasimha Prasad
A bench of Justices V Ramasubramanian and Pankaj Mithal has noted the division bench of the High Court by a very strange order, not only set aside the order of penalty and the findings of the enquiry officer but also directed that no further inquiry can be held against M Narasimha Prasad who was dismissed from service in 2009 following a decision by the full court on administrative side.
The charges against the judge included that he was alleged to have pronounced the operative portion of the judgment in open court without the whole of the judgement being ready. “These are very serious in nature and the reply given by the respondent to these charges is wishy-washy,” the bench said, adding, not preparing/dictating judgements, but providing a fait accompli, is completely unacceptable and unbecoming of a judicial officer.
The top court said a look at the judgement of the High Court showed that it was swayed away unduly by the animosity attributed by the judge to a member of the local Bar and the Assistant Public Prosecutor.
“Let us assume for a minute that the charges were on the basis of complaints initiated by persons bearing ill-will and motive against the respondent. Even then, such ill-will and motive may not make the conduct of the respondent in not preparing judgements but pronouncing the outcome of the case, a condonable conduct,” the bench said. The court also found as “entirely unacceptable” the judge’s bid to put the blame on inefficiency on the part of the stenographer.
“Unfortunately, the High Court not only accepted this Panchatantra story, but also went to the extent of blaming the administration for not examining the stenographer as a witness. Such an approach is wholly unsustainable,” the bench said. “The opinion of the High Court in the impugned order that the acts of omission and commission attributed to the respondent do not constitute grave misconduct, is very-very curious. Adding fuel to fire, the High Court has recorded in Paragraph 36 of the impugned order that “dismissing him from service itself is very atrocious”. Such a finding is nothing but a veiled attack on the Full Court of the High Court. After holding so, the High Court has gone to the extent of certifying the respondent as an innocent and honest officer. We do not know wherefrom the High Court came to such a conclusion,” the bench said.