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Notice to HC Registrar-Gen on Judges’ en masse leave
Legal Correspondent

New Delhi, April 26
A day after Chief Justice of India (CJI) V.N. Khare and CJI designate S. Rajendra Babu expressed unhappiness over the recent turn of events in the Punjab and Haryana High Court during their meeting with its judges, the Supreme Court today issued a notice to High Court Registrar-General on a PIL highlighting the issue.

A Bench of Mr Justice S.N. Variava and Mr Justice H.K. Sema issued the notice to the Registrar-General on a PIL, which said the action of the 25 High Court judges going on mass leave on April 19 amounted to a strike.

“The judges are not entitled to take such a decision, which indicates that they are reacting against any act or omission committed on the part of the system which they do not like. Such a decision of the judges amounts to strike,” the PIL by advocates R.K. Rathore and S.S. Dhaiya said.

Meanwhile, President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam has reportedly written to the CJI, expressing his “anguish” over the action of the Punjab and Haryana High Court judges.

The CJI is understood to have shown the letter to the three High Court judges — Mr G.S. Singhvi, Mr Justice V.K. Bali and Mr Justice H.S. Bedi — during the meeting yesterday and told them that the attitude of “trade unionism” adopted by them was not permissible in law and had caused irreparable damage to the judiciary, sources here said today.

The CJI had told them that the action of the judges was nothing less than resorting to strike even when they had been time and again passing orders against strikes.

The CJI and Mr Justice Babu had taken a serious view of the “conduct” of the judges and asked them to work unitedly with High Court Chief Justice B K Roy in the interests of justice. Justice Roy had also met them yesterday.

The advocate duo, in the PIL, had also sought direction to the Registrar-General to place on record the entire documents on the issue, which had led to the situation coming to such a pass.

They said the act of the judges was liable to be “condemned as it was not sustainable in law.”

The petitioners said the judges had no right to go on leave collectively after holding a joint meeting as they “hold constitutional” posts and had sworn in to protect the Constitution.


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