[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) cum Deputy Secretary in the President Secretariat has sent a letter (see image 1) on June 15, 2018 to Justice Narayan Shukla of Allahabad High Court asking him to make a representation, if any, against the proposed disclosure of the documents/information asked for by RTI applicant Paras Nath Singh related to the latter’s letter to the President of India questioning the procedure followed by the in-house inquiry committee constituted by the Chief Justice of India (CJI), Dipak Misra.
The RTI applications filed on May 25, 2018 had sought to know the following information:
- Date on which President’s Secretariat received a letter/representation from Justice Narayan Shukla of Allahabad High Court related to Chief Justice of India’s letter seeking removal of Justice Shukla.
- Date on which the above referred letter/representation was put up before the President of India.
- Details of action taken on the above referred letter/representation from Justice Narayan Shukla.
- Date on which President’s Secretariat forwarded letter/representation from Justice Narayan Shukla of Allahabad High Court, to the Government of India (Ministry of Law & Justice) or to any other ministry/department.
- Certified copy of the ID note whereby the same was forwarded to Government of India (Ministry of Law & Justice) or to any other ministry/department.
- Certified copy of file notes generated in the President Secretariat in processing the aforesaid letter/representation from Justice Narayan Shukla.
- Certified copy of the aforesaid letter/representation from Justice Narayan Shukla.
The CPIO vide his letter dated June 15, 2018 addressed to Narayan Shukla and copy thereof marked to the RTI applicant informed that he has treated the information sought as third party under section 11 of the RTI Act and decided to disclose the information. However, Justice Shukla has been given an opportunity under section 11(2) of the RTI Act to make representation, if any, against the proposed disclosure.
Justice Shukla is due to retire on July 17, 2020, and was indicted by an “in-house committee” comprising Madras High Court Chief Justice Indira Banerjee, Sikkim High Court Chief Justice S K Agnihotri and Madhya Pradesh High Court’s Justice P K Jaiswal. They found him “guilty of misconduct”. He was under the scanner for allegedly granting permission to a private medical college to admit students despite a ban by the Medical Council of India being in place, as well as the Supreme Court forbidding such admissions from de-licensed private medical colleges.
Acting on the report submitted by in-house inquiry panel, the Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, in terms of Clause 7(ii) of the in-house Supreme Court Resolution of 1997, wrote on February 02, 2018 to the President of India, with a copy marked to the Prime Minister, seeking Justice Shukla’s removal from office. Before approaching to the President, the CJI even advised the concerned judge to resign, but he strangely refused to do so. CJI then advised the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court not to assign any judicial work to the concerned judge. Since then the judge, though still in office, has been divested of any judicial work.
It has been learnt that Justice Shukla has written a letter to the President of India in response to a letter of the CJI to the President recommending removal of former from the office. In his letter, Justice Shukla has questioned the procedure followed by the in-house inquiry.
(The story will be updated once final response from the President Secretariat is received.)