The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday directed the Registrar General of the High Court to register a suo-motu criminal petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to quash a private complaint lodged against a Judicial Magistrate First Class.
A division bench of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice M Nagaprasanna said
"If the complaint filed by said complainant is allowed to proceed further, it will completely set at nought the protection granted to judicial officers under the Judges (Protection) Act of 1985."
The bench while directing the registry to initiate the suo-motu petition exercised its inherent jurisdiction under section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code.
It said "In view of the absolute protection granted to judicial officers under sections of Judges (protection) Act 1985, the complaint could not have been entertained and registered against the judicial officer. In view of the law laid down by the Apex court the High Court can always exercise its inherent jurisdiction under section 482 of Crpc in the interest of justice. It is held that inherent jurisdiction can be exercised in case of substantive as well as procedural matters."
The complaint was filed by one C Manjunath on the administrative side of the High Court making certain grievances against the Judicial Officer, about the alleged statements made by the officer during remand proceedings. The secretary to the Chief Justice replied to him saying that the remedy available to him was on the judicial side. This reply was sent as grievances were sent in response to the dismissal of his protest petition and grant of custody.
However, in his private complaint filed before the Principal District Judge, Bellary under sections 166, 205, 120 (A) 211, 219, 499 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code in which the Judicial officer is named as accused no 1, he relied on the reply letter of the secretary of the Chief Justice as permission granted for prosecuting the judicial officer.