The Uttarakhand High Court has suspended a District Judge who travelled to a camp court in a private Audi car belonging to another person after fixing the official board of the District Judge on that car.
The High Court’s Office Memorandum described the act of District Judge Prashant Joshi as amounting to grave misconduct, and as “touching upon his integrity”.
“The act and conduct touches upon integrity, amounts to grave misconduct and is in violation of Rule 3(1), 3(2), and Rule 30 of the Uttarakhand Government Servants’ Conduct Rules, 2002. Said conduct is unbecoming of a Judicial Officer,” the office memorandum suspending the judge stated.
The officer was supposed to have travelled to the camp court in his official vehicle. Instead, he used a private car owned by one Kewal Krishan Soin, which was fitted with the Judge’s official name board, the memorandum said.
The order pointed out that this might have been to protect the owner and the occupants of the car from nefarious activities.
It also stated that the vehicle was parked outside the official High Court guest house.
To make matters worse, the memorandum noted that Soin has a case of forgery, cheating and criminal conspiracy pending against him and a writ petition to quash the same is also pending before the Uttarakhand High Court.
Stating that the above actions constituted grave misconduct and violated Uttarakhand Government Servants’ Conduct Rules, 2002, the Court suspended the judicial officer and directed that he be paid only half of his salary as subsistence allowance along with dearness allowance. This amount is to be paid over to him on the date of his suspension.
Other compensatory allowances shall be admissible subject to the condition that expense is being actually incurred by him, the communication said.
It also said that Joshi should remain attached with the District Judgeship’s headquarter Rudraprayag and should not leave the station without obtaining the prior permission of the High Court.