NEW DELHI: A judge of the Allahabad High Court, indicted by a committee of judges for misconduct in the medical admissions scam, should be removed, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has told President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, sources said. As the first step, the judicial functions of Justice SN Shukla were withdrawn last week following an advice from Chief Justice Misra. The medical admission scam — which involved illegal admission of students by some blacklisted medical colleges — led to the arrest of retired judge IM Qudussi and a petition that alleged that bribes were taken in the name of senior judges. It was one of the issues that triggered the recent unprecedented rift within the judiciary.
A three-judge panel which examined the role of Justice SN Shukla in the medical admissions scam, made adverse remarks about him, reports said. In their report to the Chief Justice of India, the panel recommended the judge’s removal after he refused to step down.
The process of removing a high court judge is carried out through voting by lawmakers in parliament.
The role of Justice Shukla came under scanner after he permitted a private medical college to admit students despite a government ban.
There were allegations that in September, Justice Shukla made handwritten changes in his own bench’s order days after the Supreme Court barred the High Court from allowing the Lucknow-based GCRG Institute of Medical Science to admit students for the 2017-18 session.
The revised High Court order was struck down by the top court in November after an appeal by the Medical Council of India.
The medical admissions scam and the cases around it became one of the triggers for the rift between Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and the four judges, who publicly criticized him on January 12.
On November 11, Justice J Chelameshwar, one of the four judges, had called for a five-judge bench to hear a petition that alleged that bribes were collected in the name of senior judges by IM Quddusi, a former judge from the Orissa High Court, and five others.
According to the CBI, Justice Quddusi had offered to ensure that the Supreme Court would rule in favour of a Lucknow-based medical college, which wanted to reverse its blacklisting by the government. He was granted bail just days after his arrest in September.
A day later, Chief Justice Dipak Misra cancelled Justice Chelameshwar’s ruling, saying only he had the power to call a constitution bench because he is the “master of the roster”.
The Union health ministry had banned 32 medical colleges from admitting students in July, following a report by the Medical Council of India on their substandard infrastructure and failure to meet other criteria.