Something is rotten in Punjab and Haryana High Court

Something is rotten in Punjab and Haryana High Court

Nine judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court have relatives appointed as law officers in Punjab and Haryana. Further, relatives of the Haryana Lokpal and retired judges have been appointed in the office of the Advocate Generals of Punjab and Haryana (AG), reports The Tribune.

Among the serving judges, Justice Ritu Bahri, Justice M S Sullar, Justice N K Sanghi, Justice R S Malik, Justice R K Garg, Justice Hemant Gupta, Justice R P Nagrath, Justice T P S Mann and Justice R C Gupta have relatives in the office of the AG.


Among the retired judges, former Chief Justice of India Justice A S Anand, Justice Pritam Pal, Justice H S Brar, Justice A N Jindal, Justice R S Madan, Justice S D Anand, Justice A S Chaudhary, Justice A S Nehra and Justice S Sarup have relatives in the office of the AG.

Among the judges transferred out of Chandigarh, but with relatives in the office of the AG, are Justice Alok Singh, Justice Ashutosh Mohunta and Justice Vinod K Sharma.

Justice Pritam Pal, the present Haryana Lokpal, has two relatives in the Haryana AG's office and another one in the Punjab AG's office.

Law Commission of India in its 230th Report on Reforms in Judiciary observed, “In any case, the judges, whose kith and kin are practising in a High Court, should not be posted in the same High Court. This will eliminate “Uncle Judges”.

On 26th November, 2011 a Supreme Court Bench comprising of Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra said: “We are sorry to say but a lot of complaints are coming against certain judges of the Allahabad High Court relating to their integrity. Some judges have their kith and kin practising in the same court, and within a few years of starting practice, the sons or relations of the judge become multi-millionaires, have huge bank balances, luxurious cars, huge houses and are enjoying a luxurious life. This is a far cry from the days when the sons and other relatives of judges could derive no benefit from their relationship and had to struggle at the Bar like any other lawyer.”


Former Minister for Law and Justice, Dr. Ashwani Kumar in written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha once said, “The appointment of Judges in the High Court and Supreme Court is made under the Memorandum for Appointment of Judges which has been laid down following the Supreme Court Judgments in 1993 and 1998. Under this, responsibility for initiation of proposals for appointment of Judges in the High Court and Supreme Court is with the Chief Justice of the High Courts/Supreme Court. Under Article 217 of the Constitution, a person who has been an advocate for 10 years in a High Court or in two or more such Courts in succession is qualified to be considered for appointment as the Judge of the High Court. Thus, under the Constitutional Provision, Chief Justice can recommend judges from the Bar to be appointed as the judge of the High Court. In this situation, kith and kin of those appointed as judges and practicing in the High Court is likely. With a view to correct the situation, judicial standards are being prescribed for the judges in the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2012 which has been passed by Lok Sabha already.” 


In the Allahabad case, Justice Katju observed, “Something is rotten in the Allahabad High Court” and it would be only apt to conclude by stating that, “Something is rotten in Punjab and Haryana High Court”.

Image from here.