Nothing much should be read in occasional meetings between the chief minister of a state and the Chief Justice of the high court, particularly when the executive head faced some case as judicial decisions could not
be “influenced” by such meetings, the Supreme Court on Monday said while dismissed a petition against Allahabad high court’s order shifting Taj corridor scam case against Mayawati from one bench to the other.
“Chief minister is the head of the executive and Chief Justice is the head of judiciary in a state. Chief minister and Chief Justice normally meet and they even share dais, to read too much into such meetings will lead to a catastrophe” as judicial decisions could not be influence by such meetings,” a bench of Justices R.V. Raveendran and A.K. Patnaik said.
The bench made the observation while dismissing an appeal of Kashi Prasad Yadav, challenging the administrative decision of the Chief Justice of Allahabad high court shifting his PIL on the issue of sanction for prosecution of Ms Mayawati from one bench to the other while bifurcating the PILs on criminal and civil matters. Another reason for dismissing Mr Yadav’s appeal cited by the Supreme Court was that it could not go into internal administrative functioning of a HC as it was beyond the top court’s jurisdiction.
The bench further explained that if the top court started “interfering” in administrative functioning of the Chief Justice of HC, it would set a bad precedent as he was complete “independence” in this regard. “High courts are not under us (SC administratively). HC should not be put under us (SC) except in judicial matters,” the bench observed.
In response to Mr Yadav’s counsel Prashant Bhushan’s argument that the Supreme Court could interfere even in the administrative decisions of HC Chief Justice in the “public interest” if objective behind shifting of the cases like this was to benefit an accused, the bench though told him that it “shared” his concern that the confidence of the people in judiciary should not be shaken. But action could not be taken merely on speculation after the chief minister and Chief Justice met in a function, or shared dais as attending the public functions was also part of their public duty, the top court said. Asian Age