Foul play behind Dhanbad judicial officer's death? Jharkhand HC takes up matter

Crime scene
Representational image: IANS

New Delhi/Dhanbad: The Jharkhand High Court has taken up the matter of the death of a judicial officer as foul play allegations were raised regarding his accident.

Uttam Anand, the Additional District Judge (ADJ) of Dhanbad district, was killed on Wednesday after being hit by a vehicle. He was out on a morning walk.

The incident happened at 5am on Randhir Verma Chowk near the district court in the Sadar police station area, Senior Superintendent of Police Sanjiv Kumar said.

The judge was found to be lying in a pool of blood by an auto-rickshaw driver, who took him to the Shahid Nirmal Mahto Hospital where he succumbed to the injuries, the officer added.

Uttam was posted in Dhanbad six months ago.

The Supreme Court Thursday said the Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court has already taken up the matter related to the alleged killing of a judicial officer of Dhanbad and concerned officers in the case have been asked to be present before it.

A bench of Chief Justice N V Ramana and Justice Surya Kant said this after senior advocate Vikas Singh, who is also the president of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), mentioned the matter and said this is a brazen attack on the independence of the judiciary.

Singh said investigation in the case must be entrusted to the CBI as killing of a judicial officer, apparently for not granting bail to a gangster is an assault on the judicial system.

We are aware of the incident and we appreciate the efforts of SCBA. I have spoken to the Chief Justice of the Jharkhand High Court. He has taken up the case and has asked the officers to be present there. The matter is going on there. Leave it there, the CJI told Singh.

Interference by the apex court in the matter at this stage may not be necessary as the high court has already taken it up on the judicial side, the bench said.

Singh, while saying that video of the incident was also shot, told the bench that if somebody is killed for not granting bail to a gangster, then there will be no judiciary in the country.

Prior to mentioning the matter before the CJI-led bench, Singh mentioned it before a bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud.

Singh termed the incident shocking and said the apex court should take cognisance of the matter.

Justice Chandrachud told Singh to mention the matter before the CJI.

When Singh said mentioning may not be allowed before the CJI, Justice Chandrachud assured him that he would use his "good office" to bring the matter to the notice of the CJI.

After mentioning the matter before the CJI, Singh appeared before Justice Chandrachud-led bench to argue another case which was listed for hearing.

Justice M R Shah, who was part of the bench headed by Justice Chandrachud, asked Singh why was the video of the incident was shot as it could be used as evidence.

Singh said persons involved in this wanted to terrorize people by shooting the video.

This is tyranny. This was brazen and they wanted to terrorize people. The video is not shot from any CCTV cameras but from a video camera as people can be heard talking and it was even zoomed in several times, he said.

When Justice Shah said what could be the reason behind the incident, Singh said the judicial officer had passed unpleasant bail order against some gangster.

"Anyway, I have mentioned this before the CJI, who said that he has talked to the Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court. The chief justice of high court is taking up the matter on the judicial side," Singh said.  

(With inputs from PTI & IANS)

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