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Karnataka HC Drops Inquiry Against District Judge After Justice Chelameswar’s Intervention

The Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari has reportedly dropped an inquiry initiated against a senior District and Sessions Court Judge, after Justice J. Chelameswar wrote a scathing letter to Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra last week, challenging the propriety of the inquiry which was initiated at the behest of the Centre.

According to a report by The Print, the probe against Judge P. Krishna Bhat was questioned by Justice J. Chelameswar, who had pointed out that the Centre had stalled Judge Bhat’s elevation without offering any cogent reasons for the same, despite the fact that his name had been cleared by the Supreme Court collegium twice.

The letter reportedly takes serious objection to Justice Maheshwari’s decision to investigate old allegations leveled against Judge Bhat by a female judicial officer, noting that he had been absolved in the matter after a thorough probe.

The matter pertains to a complaint being filed against Judge Bhat, accusing him of “atrocities and abuse of power” by a woman who had earlier been indicted by him for her conduct. She began sending such complaints to the Centre and the Supreme Court after Judge Bhat’s name was recommended for elevation.

The Centre had, therefore, returned the recommendation. Subsequently, the then Chief Justice of India T.S. Thakur had directed Justice Maheshwari’s predecessor, Justice Subhro Kamal Mukherjee, to hold an inquiry.

Justice Mukherjee had absolved Judge Bhat of the allegations, asserting that the woman’s complaints were aimed at maligning him and stalling his appointment as a High Court Judge. His candidature was, therefore, reiterated by the collegium in April last year.

However, the Centre is yet to act on it.

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