Judicial Officers Assn. Vs. Union of India  INSC 163 (7 March 1994)
M.N.(Cj) Venkatachalliah, M.N.(Cj) Pandian, S.R. (J)
1994 SCC (4) 687
have heard Shri R.K. Jain, learned Senior Counsel for the petitioner and Shri Yogeshwar
Prasad, learned Senior Counsel for the State of Uttar Pradesh. This writ petition raises certain serious and important
issues as to the meaning of judicial independence in relation to the judicial
services and the means by which it should be ensured and protected. Incidental
to the requirement of maintaining such independence of the judiciary, it is of
importance that members of the judicial services should not work under
apprehensions of retaliatory action by the Police and the Executive whatever
form such action might assume.
make an interim order that no crime or criminal case shall be registered
against a judicial officer in respect of anything allegedly done or purported
to be done in the discharge of his duty or in his capacity as holder of such
judicial office without the prior permission of the Chief Justice of the High
Court concerned. In making this interim order, we take into account the
observations of this Court in K. Veeraswami v. Union of India' where, in the
context of Judges of the superior courts, it was observed : (SCC pp. 707-09, paras
59 and 60) "59. There is, however, apprehension that the executive being
the largest litigant is likely to misuse the power to prosecute the Judges.
apprehension in our over-litigious society seems to be not unjustified or
unfounded. The Act no doubt provides certain safeguards. Section 6 providing
for prior sanction from the competent authority and directing that no court
shall take cognisance of the offence under Section 5(1) without such prior
sanction is indeed a protection for Judges from frivolous and malicious
prosecution. It is a settled law that the authority entitled to grant sanction
must apply its mind to the facts of the case and all the evidence collected
before forming an opinion whether to grant sanction or not.
the trial is by the court which is independent of the executive. But these
safeguards may not be adequate. Any complaint against a Judge and its
investigation by the CBI, if given publicity will have a far- reaching impact
on the Judge and the litigant public. The need therefore, is a judicious use of
taking action under the Act. Care should be taken that honest and fearless
judges are not harassed. They should be protected.
We therefore, direct that no criminal case shall be registered under Section
154 CrPC against a Judge of the High Court, Chief Justice of High Court or
Judge of the Supreme Court unless the Chief Justice of 1 (1991) 3 SCC 655 689
India is consulted in the matter. Due regard must be given by the Government to
the opinion expressed by the Chief Justice. If the Chief Justice is of opinion
that it is not a fit case for proceeding under the Act, the case shall not be
registered." 3.In Delhi Judicial Service Association v.
of Gujarat2 this Court issued the following guidelines
: (SCC pp. 411-12) "(A) A Judicial Officer should be arrested for any
offence under intimation to District Judge or the High Court as the case may
case of necessity for immediate arrest of a Judicial Officer only a technical
or formal arrest may be effected.
fact of such arrest should be immediately communicated to the District and
Sessions Judge of the concerned District and the Chief Justice of the High Court.
Judicial Officer so arrested shall not be taken to a police station, without
the prior order or directions of the District and Sessions Judge of the
concerned district, if available.
facilities shall be provided to the Judicial Officer for communication with his
family members, legal advisers and Judicial Officers, including the District
and Sessions Judge.
statement of a Judicial Officer who is under arrest be recorded nor any panchnama
be drawn up nor any medical tests be conducted except in the presence of the
Legal Adviser of the Judicial Officer concerned or another Judicial Officer of
equal or higher rank, if available.
Ordinarily there should be no handcuffing of a Judicial Officer.
above guidelines are not exhaustive but these are minimum safeguards which must
be observed in case of arrest of a Judicial Officer. These guidelines should be
implemented by the State Government as well as by the High Courts." The
aforesaid guidelines were in regard to all offences generally; but when any
criminal conduct is attributed to a Judicial Officer in discharge of his duties
or in purported exercise or discharge of his duties, we direct that, in
addition, no crime for investigation should be registered pursuant to any FIR without
the permission of the Chief Justice of the High Court concerned.
List this matter before the Constitution Bench at the next sitting.