Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud expressed concern about the letter written by Allahabad High Court judge calling for an explanation from the railway authorities for facing “inconvenience during the train journey” as his requirements were not met.
A communication sent to the Chief Justices of all the High Courts, CJI Chandrachud has voiced displeasure over the letter by the Allahabad HC judge that went viral on social media.
The CJI’s communication, which was sent on July 19, says that the letter has “given rise to justifiable disquiet both within and outside the judiciary”.
“Protocol 'facilities' which are made available to Judges should not be utilised to assert a claim to privilege which sets them apart from society or as a manifestation of power or authority,” the communication read.
A wise exercise of judicial authority, both on and off the Bench, is what sustains the credibility and legitimacy of the judiciary and the confidence which society has in its Judges, it added.
CJI writes to all HC judges requesting for self-reflection
The CJI said that he was writing to all the Chief Justices of the High Courts with an “earnest request” for “self reflection”.
“Self reflection and counselling within the judiciary is necessary. Protocol facilities which are made available to Judges should not be used in a manner that is liable to result in inconvenience to others or to bring public criticism of the judiciary,” the CJI said.
He further emphasised that a judge of the High Court does not possess disciplinary jurisdiction over railway personnel.
"Hence there was no occasion for an officer of the (Allahabad) High Court to call for an explanation from the railway personnel 'to be placed before his lordship for his kind perusal.' Evidently, the officer of the High Court was carrying out a direction of the Judge of the High Court in this instance,” the CJI's letter added.
Justice Gautam Chowdhary of the Allahabad HC had called for an explanation from railway officials for allegedly not meeting his requirements on a recent train journey he undertook with his spouse on July 8.
On July 14, a letter in this regard was sent by the Registrar (Protocol) of the Allahabad HC to the General Manager of the North Central Railway, Prayagraj.
The train incident
Justice Chowdhary had sought an explanation for the poor experience he had during a recent journey on the Purushotam Express in the First Class AC Coach from New Delhi to Prayagraj. The train was apparently late by over 3 hours and no Government Railway Police (GRP) personnel were found in the coach to meet the requirements of the judge in spite of intimating the authorities concerned. Moreover, no pantry car workers attended to the judge for providing refreshments and a call to the pantry car manager went unanswered, the letter said.
The letter by Justice Chowdhary went viral which invited severe criticism not only towards the judge also toward the judiciary.