In line with the Supreme Court's recent suggestion, the Patna High Court yesterday recalled the suspension orders and dropped all departmental proceedings against Additional Sessions Judge Shashi Kant Rai.
Judge Rai was earlier suspended by the High Court for deciding cases pertaining to The Prevention of Children against Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO cases) within days.
To this effect, the administrative order passed by the Legal cell of the Patna High Court reads as follows,
"Having considered the order dated 08.08.2022 passed in W.P (C) 557/2022 titled as Shashi Kant Rai, versus High Court of Judicature at Patna and another by the Hon'ble Supreme Court of India, and the communication dated 08.08.2022 received from Sri Gaurav Agarwal, Advocate, Supreme Court of India, representing the High Court in the matter, the Hon'ble High Court has been pleased to drop all departmental proceedings against Sri Shashi Kant Rai special Judge Pocso-cum-Additional District and Sessions Judge VI Araria, initiated against him wide courts memorandum number 46908/2022/Legal Cell dated 05.08.2022."
The order recalling his suspension reads as,
"The order of suspension passed against Shri Shashi Kant Rai, Special Judge PCOSO-cum-A.D.J, Araria, issued under Court's memo Number 7834, dated 08.02.2022 and order of renewal of suspension issued under Court's memo number 47103 dated 05.08.2022 are hereby recalled with immediate effect."
Earlier this week, on Monday, the Supreme Court had urged the Patna High Court to drop all disciplinary proceedings initiated against the suspended Additional Sessions Judge. (Add link)
During the hearing, a division bench comprising of Justices UU Lalit and Ravindra Bhat orally observed,
"Our sincere advice is to drop everything. If you don't want to, we'll go threadbare into it. Unless you're alleging corruption, there has to be something glaring…..He's only following up on his orders, this is extremely unfair against him."
The bench had made the suggestion while considering a writ petition filed by Judge Rai who had who alleged that the disciplinary proceedings were initiated against him by the High Court for deciding POCSO cases within days. The judge had awarded life sentence to a man in a POCSO case in a trial completed within a day; in another case of child rape, the judge had sentenced a man to death after completing trial within 4 days.
During that hearing, the Bench had observed that there shouldn't be an over zealousness to punish as it would send a bad message to other judicial officers who are efficient in their conduct. Justice Lalit had also noted that the petitioner judge's judgments are well written.
The matter is next expected to come on August 18.
Case Title: Shashi Kant v HC of Judicature at Patna| WP(C) 557/2022