High court dismisses ex-judge’s plea against prosecution


Chandigarh:The Punjab and Haryana High Court Monday dismissed a petition by one of its former judges challenging the president’s grant of sanction to the CBI to prosecute her.

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The petition of former judge Nirmal Yadav, who served in the same high court till 2008, was dismissed by Justice Permod Kohli.

Yadav was booked by the Chandigarh police and later investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC) after her name figured in the August 2008 cash-for-judge scandal here.

In her petition, Yadav sought quashing of the prosecution sanction, saying that the present Chief Justice of India (S.H. Kapadia) had no power to review the decision of his predecessor (K.G. Balakrishnan).

She pointed out that the former chief justice had declined to give permission for prosecution.

Counsel for Yadav, Supreme Court lawyer K.T.S. Tulsi had contended that one chief justice could not review the decision of his predecessor in such cases.

In his 56-page judgment here Monday, Justice Kohli said that a noting by Balakrishnan stating that “no action was required for the present”, could not be construed by the petitioner as refusal to give prosecution sanction.

Justice Kohli also stated that Yadav had no right to seek records and documents in the case in the pre-trial stage.

“Merely because the petitioner has enjoyed one of the highest constitutional offices, she cannot claim any special right or privilege as an accused than prescribed under law,” Justice Kohli observed.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court was hit by the cash-for-judge scam after a packet containing Rs.15 lakh in cash was delivered Aug 13, 2008 at the residence of (then) newly-appointed high court judge Nirmaljit Kaur here.

She complained to the police and got a case registered.

Yadav was serving in the high court here when the scam was reported.

The police later arrested the then Haryana additional advocate general Sanjeev Bansal, a property dealer Rajiv Gupta and Delhi-based hotelier Ravinder Singh in this connection.

Bansal and Gupta told the police that the money was meant for another high court judge, Nirmal Yadav. They claimed that another packet containing Rs.15 lakh was separately delivered to Yadav at her official residence later after the first packet was wrongly delivered to the other woman judge.

The money in question was from a land deal, the CBI investigation later stated.

Yadav, who went on leave after the episode surfaced, was later transferred to the Uttarakhand High Court.

While the case was transferred from Chandigarh Police to the CBI, the Supreme Court also set up a committee of senior judges to investigative the matter separately.

The CBI had filed a chargesheet against Yadav for corruption, conspiracy, destroying evidence and creation of false evidence. The agency also submitted a 126-page documentary evidence in the case.

The trial of the case is taking place before the court of the special CBI judge here.