All cases have been withdrawn from a senior judge of the Patna High Court who hit out publicly at other judges and the High Court administration while hearing a corruption case against a former IAS officer. An 11-judge bench of the High Court has also suspended Justice Rakesh Kumar's order and ruled that no action ordered by him will be taken.
"All matters pending before Justice Rakesh Kumar, sitting singly including tired up/part heard or otherwise stand withdraw with immediate effect," the Patna High Court Chief Justice said in a notice issued on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Justice Kumar, while hearing the bail plea of a corruption-accused former IAS officer, KP Ramiah, had questioned how he was granted bail by a lower court when the High Court as well as Supreme Court had rejected his request for protection from arrest because of the gravity of the allegations.
The retired officer is accused of embezzling over Rs 5 crore from the Bihar Mahadalit Vikas Mission, a government scheme for backward castes. After his pre-arrest bail request was rejected by the High Court and Supreme Court, he had surrendered before the lower court, which granted him bail in May.
Justice Kumar said a "corrupt officer" like Ramaiah secured bail as a vacation judge heard his case in place of the regular judge of the Vigilance Court, who was away for a day.
The judge also alleged that the full bench of the Patna High Court had taken a lenient view every time the case of any judge from the lower judiciary came up. "Despite my opposition, a judge facing serious charges was let off with minor punishment instead of exemplary punishment," Justice Kumar said in his order.
He also remarked that crores of rupees were spent on the furnishings of judges' homes from the taxpayer's money.
While making these sharp comments, the judge ordered that a copy of his order be served to the Chief Justice of India, the Prime Minister's Office and the Union Law Ministry.
But after the Chief Justice's order taking away his cases, even the copy of the judgement delivered by Justice Kumar was withdrawn. The 11 judges who suspended his order today expressed anguish and said Justice Kumar had exceeded his jurisdiction, that most of his comments were unwarranted and uncalled for.