Judges conduct should be exemplary both within and outside: SC

Supreme Court said a judge`s conduct "must be exemplary" both within and outside the court.

Last Updated: May 27, 2011, 20:41 PM IST

New Delhi: Rejecting Sikkim Chief Justice
P D Dinakaran`s plea that he can`t be impeached for alleged
misconduct not connected with discharge of judicial duties,
the Supreme Court on Friday said a judge`s conduct "must be
exemplary" both within and outside the court.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and C K Patnaik said a
judge cannot walk into a shopping mall, pick up an article of
his choice and simply walk away without footing the bill.

"His conduct must be exemplary. He is liable for his
actions. There cannot be aberrations. He cannot go to the
shopping mall, pick up anything and walk out without paying.

"Any conduct that brings down the dignity of the court
cannot be accepted," the bench remarked.

The apex court made the remarks after senior counsel
Basava Prabhu Patil and Romy Chacko, appearing for Justice
Dinakaran, aruged a judge`s conduct which was not connected
with the discharge of his/her official duties cannot be part
of any impeachment motion.

The counsel cited Article 124(4) of the Constitution that
judges enjoy immunity from any prosecution or impeachment for
misconduct unless the same was related to the discharge of the
official duty.

Sensing the mood of the court, the counsel then admitted
the conduct of the judges should be exemplary both within and
outside the court.

Senior counsel U U Lalit, appearing for the Rajya
Sabha appointed three-member panel, agreed with Justice
Dinakaran`s contention that the committee received complaints
even after the motion for impeachment was introduced in
Parliament.

Admitting that the complaints were received and
additional charges were framed, the counsel, however,
clarified that the same were merely "elaboration and
refinement" of the charges framed by Parliament which would in
no way prejudice the interest of Justice Dinakaran.

The arguments would resume on Tuesday.

Justice Dinkaran had moved the Supreme Court on two
grounds contending that the panel had exceeded its
jurisdiction by framing 14 charges on the basis of fresh
complaints whereas there were only 12 charges at the time when
the motion was introduced in Parliament.

It was argued that the committee should restrict
itself to the original 12 charges instead of inviting
further complaints from various persons, which was not
permissible under the law, the counsel argued.

Dinakaran had also sought recusal of senior advocate P
P Rao on the ground that he was allegedly biased against him
as he was part of a delegation which had met the then Chief
Justice K G Balarkrishnan to oppose his elevation to the
Supreme Court.

The apex court had on April 29 stayed the probe by the
Rajya Sabha-appointed panel after Dinakaran expressed
apprehension of a biased inquiry by it in view of Rao`s
presence in the panel and the committee had exceeded its
jurisdiction.

The bench had also asked the committee`s counsel to
respond to Dinkaran`s plea. The committee is headed by Justice
Aftab Alam of the Supreme Court and includes Karnataka High
Court Chief Justice J S Khehar and Rao.

Justice Dinakaran had early this week moved another
application in the apex court against the ongoing probe
contending it has exceeded its jurisdiction in probing charges
of judicial misconduct and corruption against him.

PTI