It is not open to a litigant to make unsubstantiated, reckless and wild allegations to harass a judicial officer who has decided a case, the High Court has said.
A division bench comprising justices Goda Raghuram and MS Ramachandra Rao has said, “If a litigant has a grievance that an order passed against him by a judicial officer is, for some reason, erroneous in fact or in law, the only proper and legitimate course to be adopted is to question the said order by way of an appeal, revision or review as the case may be.”
The bench held that while complaints of corruption made against the members of the subordinate judiciary required serious consideration, in the absence of any material or specific particulars placed by complainants in support of
allegations, it was neither proper nor legitimate to subject a judicial officer to disciplinary proceedings at the instance of litigants dissatisfied with the outcome of decisions.
The bench said that it would amount to harassment, prevent efficient discharge of the judicial function in an honest and independent manner and have a chilling effect on the morale of the judicial officers.
The bench made the above observations while dismissing a writ filed by some city residents against the decision of the chief Justice of the High Court in rejecting their complaint against a judicial officer who had passed an order against them.
The petitioners alleged that the judicial officer, when he was presiding officer of a fast-track court in Ranga Reddy district, committed judicial dishonesty by not taking into consideration the documents filed by them while disposing their civil miscellaneous application.
They lodged a complaint with the chief justice who held that the allegations were unfounded. Then they filed the writ contending that the chief justice would have placed their complaint before the disciplinary committee of the High Court/Full Court.
The petitioners also argued that the bench headed by justice Goda Raghuram should not hear their case.
The bench said, “we have no hesitation to hold that the request of the petitioners that this bench ought not hear this case is motivated, without any valid reason and is made with an intention to bench hopping and to cause obstruction and delay to the proceeding. We strongly deprecate the same.”
The bench was also of the view that each and every complaint bereft of material particulars against members of the subordinate judiciary need not be placed by the chief justice for consideration by the disciplinary committee of the High Court/Full Court, particularly in view of the provisions contained in Standing Order 148 framed by the High Court.
The bench took serious exception to the language used by the petitioners in their affidavit by holding that “we are compelled to conclude that the intemperate, reckless, casual and aggressive pleadings of the petitioners do not appear to be a mere uninformed approach of a lay litigant and that this is nothing but a campaign of vilification against the High Court and the Supreme Court as well.”
While dismissing the plea, the bench imposed Rs 10,000 costs on the petitioners to be paid to the credit of the AP State Legal Services Authority.