BOOK: GONE AT LAST
CHAPTER 18 (Page No. 275 to 280)
REPORT OF THE FEDERAL COURT OF INDIA IN RESPECT OF CHARGES MADE AGAINST SHRI JUSTICE S. P. SINHA, A JUDGE OF THE HIGH COURT OF JUCIATURE AT ALLAHABAD UPON A REFERENCE MADE UNDER CLAUSE (b) OF SUB-SECTION (2) OF SECTION 220 OF THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT, 1935, AS ADAPTED BY THE INDIA (PROVISIONAL CONSTITUTION) ORDER, 1947 AND THE INDIA ( PROVISIONAL CONSTITUTION ) AMENDMENT ORDER, 1948
On 20th July, 1948 a reference was made by the Governor-General of India under Section 220 (2) (b) of the Government of India Act, 1935, as adapted by the Indian (Provisional Constitution) Order, 1947, and the India (provisional Constitution) Amendment order, 1948,by forwarding a petition of the Government of the United Provinces containing certain changes against Mr. Justice Shiva Prasa Sinha, who was appointed a permanent Judge of the Allahabad High Court in October 1944.
On receipt of the reference from the Governor-General we directed that the Governor-General should serve a copy of the charges on the respondent, who was called upon to file his reply within a specified time. Thereafter the Governor-General filed affidavits in support of the various facts and allegations contained in the petition and they were served on the respondent who, in his turn, filed affidavits in reply. Affidavits in rejoin-dent on behalf of the Governor-General were also put in. counsel for the respondent requested that a number of witnesses who had made affidavits should be summoned to appear before the Court to be cross-examined. This was allowed and the hearing was fixed for the 14th February 1949. After hearing the reference for about three weeks from day to day, a short time was given tot he with the further request to collect additional materials. We proceeded with the further hearing of the petition on the 16th March 1949, which was concluded on the 22nd of March.
While we are alive to the desirability, in the interests of the public, of investigating charges against a Judge in open court, we held the Enquirer in camera in view of the allegation made in the affidavits and the circumstances of the case. This mode of proceeding should not, however, be regarded as a precedent.
The charges made by the Governor-General against the respondent (omitting those, which were given up) are as follows;
FIRSTLY, that Mr. Justice Sinha has been guilty of judicial misconduct inasmuch as his decision in the following cases were grossly un-judicial and based on ultra-judicial considerations and were of such a nature as to induce a belief in the mind of the public that they were actuated by corrupt motives.
(1) PADRAUNA CASE;- A suit was filed by Ranit Rewati Deviin the Court of the Civil Jude of Gorakhpur for partition of family property. On an application filed by her, the said Court on the 19th May, 1945, ordered an inventory to be made of the jewellery and the movables in the procession of the defendant. On the 23rd May 1945, the first defendant in the said suit made an application tots he District Judge for the transfer of the case from the court of the Civil Judge and for a stay of further proceedings. On the same day the District Judge stayed all proceedings in the Court of the Civil Judge and issued a notice to the plaintiff. On the 25th May, 1945, the District Judge vacated the interim order for stay after hearing the parties and on 2nd June, 1945, dismissed the application for transfer. On the 5th June, 1945 during the vacation of the Court, the first defendant filed through Mr. Shambhu Prasad, the brother of Mr. Justice Sinha, who is an advocate of the Allahabad High Court, an application in the High Court of Allahabad for the transfer of the suit from the court of the Civil Judge, Gorakhpur, tot he court of the District Judge, Gorakhpur, and for a sty of all proceedings and for an injection against the commissioner appointed to make the inventory restraining them from taking any further proceedings till the disposal of the application. The said application for transfer was obviously made only to create a pretext of jurisdiction in the High Court. Although civil applications are not entertained the application and passed an order of stay, with the result that great loss is said to have been sustained by the plaintiff and movables and jewellery of considerable value are said to have been removed by the first defendant.
In the same matter, the plaintiff appeared in court before Mr. Justice Wali Ullah on 11th June, 1945, and moved an application for an injection to restrain the first defendant from disposing of the movables and the leaned Judge gave an ad interim injunction to that effect and directed on the 12th June, 1945 that the applications filed before Mr. Justice Sinha and the one filed before him should be listed the next day for early disposal before Mr. Justice Sinha and Wali Ullah J. The next day when the matter came before Mr. Justice Sinha and Mr. Justice Wali Ullah, Mr. Justice Sinha gave vent to a violent outburst of temper in court and expressed great annoyance that Mr. Justice Wali Ullahshould have issued the interim injunction restraining the first defendant from disposing of the movables during the tendency of the transfer application. Ultimately the application for transfer was dismissed by a Bench consisting of Iqbal Ahmad C.J., Sinha and Wali UllahJJ, and the application for transfer to the District Court was characterized by Iqbal Ahmand C. J. as a gross abuse of the process of the court and the application for transfer made in the High Court was characterized as frivolous as the application for transfer to the District Court. The learned C. J. said that the delaying tactics adopted by the first defendant resulted in grave miscarriage of justice. In an oft-shoot of the same case, viz., in an appeal to the High Court by the first defendant from an order appointing a receiver when the Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court desired on the 16th January. 1947, to substitute a bench of two judges to hear it instead of the bench consisting of three Judges, viz., Mr. Justice Sinha, Mr. Justice Wali Ullah and Mr. Justice Moothan, before which the appeal had been opened about four months ago and the three Judges including Mr. Justice Sinha were asked by the C.J. Whether they had any objection to the case being treated as not part heard, Mr. Justice Wali Ullah and Mr. Justice Mootham agreed but Mr. Sinha did not agree at first on the ground that the case was really part hear, but ultimately, viz., on the 20th marc, 1947. Mr. Justice Singh agreed that the case need not be treated as part heard.
In the same matter while the appeal was pending in the High court. Mr. Justice Sinha in or about the end of August 1946 met Mr. Dikshit, the constituted attorney of the plaintiff, in the Alfred Park and engaged him in conversation and stated that the case should be compromised by the plaintiff.
(ii) CRIMINAL REVISION NO. 1150 OF 1945 MURARILAL V. KING EMPEROR
Mr. Justice Sinha dismissed the revision application on the 8th January, 1946, and refused the prayer of Dr. Kailash Nath Katju who appeared for the accused for a reduction of the sentence on the gourd that there were no extenuating circumstances and ordered the applicant to surrender to his bail to serve out the sentence. To the knowledge of Mr. Justice Sinha the applicant did not surrender to his bail and on 1st March, 1946 made an application that further arguments in the case be heard and the applicant be realized under U.P. First Offenders Probation Act. On the 8th marc, 1946, Mr. Justice Sinha made an order allowing the application "to remain on bail" on furnishing certain sureties. On the 21st March, 1946, Mr. Justice Sinha modified the sentence by increasing the fine from Rs. 500/- (five hundred) to Rs. 2,500 (two thousand five Hundred) and remitting the entire sentence of imprisonment on the strength of four testimonials which Morarila had obtained after Mr. Justice Sinha had dismissed the revision application and which testimonials were inadmissible in evidence and had not been duly proved. After having dismissed the revision application Mr. Justice Sinha had no power to modify the sentence. Mr. Justice Sinha purported to make the order under Section 561 A of the Criminal Procedure Code.
(iii) In two criminal appeals where the accused were sentenced under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code to transportation for life, Mr. Justice Sinha granted applications for bail when the applications were moved by Mr. Jalaluddin Ahmad with whom Mr. Justice Sinha was on friendly terms. The particulars are:
(a) Criminal Appeal No. 81 of 1946. Naruddin and six others v. King Emperor.
An application for bail of Jamshed, one of the convicted persons, has been refused by Bennet. J. A second application was filed before Mr. Justice Sinha on the 5th July, 1946 by Mr. Jalaudding Ahmand who had charged Rs. 400 for moving the application and had assured the father of Jamshed that if this money was paid to him a favorable order would be passed by Mr. Justice Sinha, Mr. Justice Sinha granted the application for bail.
(b) Criminal appeal No. 429 of 1946.
Mr. Justice Sinha on 4th July, 1946 granted bail t Ale Ali, who was represented by Mr. Jalaluddin Ahmad though the bail of every other applicant was refused and there were no special circumstances to distinguish the case of ale from the cases of others.
SECONDLY, that Mr. Justice Sinha has been guilty of improper exercise of Judicial functions, the cumulative effect of which was to lower the dignity of his office and undermine the confidence of the public in the administration of justice, as shown by the following instances:
(a) While Mr. Justice Sinha was hearing second appeals under order 41, rule 11 of the Code of Civil procedure he evolved and followed a rule which was commonly known among the members of the Bar as the "50:50 rule", requiring the members of the Bar to specify which appeals (roughly half of the appeals in which they are appearing) should be dismissed under Order 41, rule 11, so that the rest may be admitted.
On such appeals being so mentioned, Mr. Justice Sinha would dismiss and admit them accordingly without arguments and irrespective of their merits.
(b) Mr. Justice Sinha has earned for himself the reputation of having his favourites, whose engagement in a case before him was likely to affect his decision in favour of the party for whom they appeared. Among these favorites were his brothers, Mr. Shambhu Prasad,
Mr. Shanker Sahvi Verma, Mr. Jalaluddin Ahmad, Mr. H.K. Mahmud and Mr. Lakshmi Saran. As a result of this reputation, these lawyers were engaged in many instances when it was known that the case was likely to go before Mr. Justice Sinha. Engagement of such counsel generally resulted in the decision going in favour of the a party engaging them.
(c) When this matter gained notoriety and caused bitter criticism by the members of the Bar, a system was evolved of the favorites of Mr. Justice Sinha who were engaged by a party, appearing in court sitting by the side of the counsel arguing the case to indicate to Mr. Justice Sinha that they had been engaged, without a retainer slip or a Vakalatnama being filed by them.
(d) Under the Bar Council Rules, a near relation of a Judge should not appear before him when sitting alone. To evade this rule, Mr. Justice Sinha gave it the interpretation that this only applied if the near relation appeared alone before the Judge and not if he was briefed along with another counsel, and thus allowed Mr. Shambhu Prasad to appear before him in many cases. This matter gained much notoriety.
THIRDLY, that Mr. Justice Sinha has been guilty of judicial indiscretion indecorum and impropriety inasmuch as;
(a) On or about 26th August, 1947, he approached Mr. Justice Wali Ullah and Mr. Justice Sapru and wanted them to appoint Mr. H.K. Mahmud, Advocate one of his favorites, a Receiver in a case pending before them.
(c) In Padrauna case referred to in the first charge when the matter came before Mr. Justice Sinha gave vent to a violent outburst of temper in court and expressed great annoyance that Wali Ullah J. should have issued an ad interim injection.
(d) In an off-shoot of the Padrauna case, viz., in FAFO No. 22 of 1946, when the said appeal was pending in the High Court, Mr. Justice Sinha in or about the end of August 1946, met
Mr. Dikshit the constituted attorney of the plaintiff in the Alfred Park, and engaged him in conversation and stated that the case should be compromised by the plaintiff.
FOURTHLY, that Mr. Justice Sinha has been guilty of conduct outside the court which is unworthy of and unbecoming the holder of such a high office;
(b) When Mr. M.C. Gupta was a candidate for the post of the Executive Officer of the Allahabad Municipal board, Mr. Justice Sinha went to the house of Khan Saheb Mazhar Husain, Superintendent, Translation Branch of the High Court, at or about the end of July or beginning of August 1945 to canvass his support and to secure the votes of other members of the Municipal Board for Mr. M.C. Gupta.
FIFTHLY, that Mr. Justice Sinha gave an incorrect declaration that he was born on 26th February, 1894 when he was asked to declare his age in order to determine the date of his retirement from the office of the Judge of the Allahabad High Court. The correct date of birth of Mr. Justice Sinha falls in the month of February 1891 as is clearly proved from the entry against Roll No. 377 in the list of candidates who passed the Entrance Examination held in May 1907 on page 551 of Part IV of the U.P. Gazette, dated July 13th, 1907.
Having considered all the materiel placed before us we think that out of the five charges brought against the Judge, four have no been established and much of the courts time was unnecessarily spent in investigating them. Charge no. 1, however, has been established in respect of the Judges decision and conduct in connection with what has been referred to as the Padrauna case and Murarilals case. In our opinion, in those two cases he was actuated by extra-judicial considerations in arriving at his conclusions. We consider that his conduct in the two cases, viewed in the light of proved facts, cannot be explained as an honest error judgement. We are therefore constrained to report that though only two instances of judicial misbehavior during a career of four year of the respondent as a judge have been proved, they are of such a nurture that his continuance in office will be prejudicial to the administration of justice and to the public interest. We therefore think that he should be removed from his office as a Judge.
ORDER DATED 22ND APRIL, 1949 PASSED BY THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL OF INDIA ACCEPTING THE REPORT OF THE FEDERAL COURT AND REMOVING JUSTICE SHIVA PRASAD SINHA FROM THE OFFICE OF A JUDGE OF THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT ALLAHABAD UNDER SUB-SECTION (2) OF SECTION 220 OF THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA ACT, 1935.
After giving the most anxious consideration to the matter in view of this being the first case of its kind in the history of the Indian high Courts, I, Chakravarti Rajagopalachari, Governor-General of India, accept the above report of the Federal Court and, in the exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) of section 220 of the Government of India Act, 1935, do hereby remove Mr. Shiva Prasad Sinha from his office of a Judge of the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad.
The 22nd April, 1949.
Governor-General of India.