Want to 'get back to action' but will go by medical advice, says SC on physical hearing

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has dismissed a plea seeking registration of an FIR and initiation of contempt proceedings against a police officer for allegedly assaulting a district judge in Aurangabad, saying Bihar Police found nothing in their enquiry.

A bench comprising justices A M Khanwilkar and Aniruddha Bose referred to the response of the Bihar Police and told PIL petitioner and lawyer Vishal Tiwari that the plea cannot be allowed to remain pending in view of the fact that the enquiry could not verify the allegations of assault.

The bench refused to hear further the PIL in the proceedings conducted through video conferencing on Friday.

The plea had alleged that Dinesh Kumar Pradhan, a district judge in Aurangabad in Bihar, was assaulted by a police officer in October last year.

The court had on December 16, 2020, issued notices to the Bihar government, Bihar’s Director General of Police, Superintendent of Police of Aurangabad district and Sub-Inspector Pranav Kumar, who had allegedly assaulted the district judge.

The plea had sought registration of the FIR and initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against the police officer for allegedly assaulting the judicial officer.

Tiwari, in the PIL, had also sought an inquiry into the incident by a panel of two serving high court judges.

The plea has alleged that Pradhan was abused, threatened and assaulted on October 21 when he was on an evening walk by a Bihar Police sub-inspector, who was accompanied by some Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel on election patrol duty.

The plea had claimed that the sub-inspector had a grudge against the judicial officer as he had taken action against him and a few other police officers for dereliction of duty a few months back.

The petition had sought action against senior police officials, including Director General of Police (DGP), Bihar and Superintendent of Police (SP), Auarngabad for their alleged inaction in the matter.

It had also sought lodging of an FIR in the matter against the erring police official and direction to all state governments to ensure and take safety and security measures for judicial officers of subordinate judiciary in their respective states.

The Bihar Judicial Services Association had earlier written a letter to the DGP seeking action against the erring officer, but no step was taken yet in connection with the incident, it had claimed.

“Attack and assault upon the judges and magistrates by police not only lowers the dignity of judiciary but also leaves an impression in the minds of the public that when the judicial officers are not safe from police atrocities than what safety the public will expect,” the plea had said.

“The judges of the subordinate judiciary are the vital part of our judicial system.

Assault upon them with the feeling of a grudge is the assault upon the dignity and supremacy of the judiciary of this country, which cannot be tolerated and requires strict punishment against the erring police officials under the contempt law,” it has said.