Mumbai: It was left to a sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) to throw the rule book at a judge of the Sikkim High Court, who had dispatched his official vehicle to bring back his wife from Siliguri, West Bengal, to Gangtok.
The judge's official vehicle was barred from crossing the border of Sikkim by the magistrate, as per lockdown rules. On Tuesday, SDM Prem Kamal Rai was overseeing the work at the Rangpo check post in Sikkim and came across the official vehicle of Justice Bhaskar Pradhan of the Sikkim HC.
"I was at the Rangpo check post when the judge's official vehicle was stopped. I enquired with the driver, who said the car was going to Siliguri to pick up the judge's family members," Rai told The Free Press Journal.
"But I asked him to take a U-turn, as no vehicles were allowed to cross Sikkim borders, at least till lockdown is operational. The driver had a word with the judge on his phone and agreed to move back," Rai added.
According to Rai, this is the treatment being given to all vehicles. "Every day, we have been stopping numerous vehicles from crossing the Sikkim border.
All this is being done to ensure there is no case of corona in the state. We treated the judge's vehicle just like we would have treated any other," Rai claimed.
The honourable Justice Bhaskar Pradhan too maintained his equanimity and cooperated with the law-enforcing agencies in the state, the authorities said. Notably, Justice Pradhan had obtained an 'e-pass', provided to drivers of essential service vehicles to ply on roads amid the lockdown. But the pass proved to be a no-go and Justice Pradhan's vehicle was sent back to Gangtok.
"I issued the pass for the official vehicle of Justice Pradhan, under the condition that when his wife returned, she would have to remain in quarantine for 14 days," said Rajkumar Yadav, the district collector of Sikkim east. Justice Pradhan readily agreed, as his actions were motivated by his concern for his wife's health, claims Yadav.
"But when the vehicle reached the Rangpo check post, the SDM on duty refused to allow it to move ahead," Yadav said, adding that he then requested Justice Pradhan to cancel the plan. "I told him it would be unsafe to bring back his wife from Siliguri at this point of time. I requested him to cancel the plan and he agreed, asking the driver to return to Gangtok," Yadav confirmed.
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