On Wednesday, the Apex Court sought a response from the Govt of Bihar and its officials on a Public Interest Litigation seeking registration of an FIR and initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against a police officer for allegedly assaulting a District Judge in Aurangabad in Bihar in Oct 2020.
A bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar took note of the plea filed by lawyer Vishal Tiwari and also issued notices to the Centre, Bihar’s DGP, Superintendent of Police of Aurangabad district and sub-Inspector Pranav who had allegedly assaulted the District Judge.
In a hearing conducted through video-conferencing, the bench, also comprising justices B R Gavai and Krishna Murari, asked the parties to file responses in four weeks on the PIL which has also sought an inquiry into the incident by a panel of two serving high court judges.
Earlier on Nov 26, the Supreme Court had directed Tiwari to include the name of the sub-Inspector, accused of assaulting the judge, as a party to his PIL.
“Petitioner is directed to amend his petition to include the name of police officer concerned who is accused of assaulting the judicial officer. List after two weeks,” said the bench, adding that petitioner may also file additional documents.
Tiwari, in his PIL, has alleged that Pradhan was abused, threatened and assaulted on Oct 21 when he was on an evening walk by a Bihar Police Sub-Inspector who was accompanied by some CRPF personnel on election patrol duty.
Agreeing to name the policeman in his PIL, the lawyer had said that he would seek an inquiry to ascertain the names of CRPF personnel who were accompanying the Sub-Inspector during the assault.
The petition has alleged 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 has sought action against senior police officials, including Director General of Police, Bihar and Superintendent of Police, Auarngabad for their alleged inaction in the matter.
It has 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 alleged.
The plea said, “Attack and assault upon the judges and magistrates by police not only lowers the dignity of judiciary but it also leaves the impression in the minds of the public that when the judicial officers are not safe from police atrocities than what safety the public will aspect”.
It has said that “The judges of the subordinate judiciary are the vital part of our judicial system. Assault upon them with the feeling of 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”.