Two responses to “inconvenience” experienced by Allahabad High Court Justice Gautam Choudhary while travelling by train have gone viral.
Justice Choudhary through a letter issued by the Registrar (Protocol) of the Allahabad High Court, had sought an explanation from “erring officials” of the Indian Railways and others after Purushottam Express ran late by over three hours on July 8.
Justice Chowdhary, who was travelling in First AC coach of the train, said he did not get “refreshments despite repeated calls” and the Government Railway Police also did not attend to him. The letter, addressed to the general manager of North Central Railway, stated that the incident “caused great inconvenience and displeasure to His Lordship”.
Against this background, first to respond was the Railways.In view of the aforementioned “serious lapses” in services to “Honourable Justice…the pantry car manager has been deboarded with immediate effect,” the IRCTC has informed the Railways.More,catering licensee has also been counselled.
Inquiry by the Railways found that the New Delhi-Prayagraj train was delayed due to the rising water level of the Yamuna in Delhi and the resultant flood situation in the Capital.
Moreover,Justice Chowdhary, as per his wishes, had been served tea without sugar, vegetable cutlets, and bread with butter for breakfast at 7.30 am, the Railways noted.
Second,Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud has expressed displeasure over an Allahabad High Court judge seeking an explanation from the Railways about the delay of a train in which the judge, Justice Gautam Chowdhary, travelled recently.
“Protocol ‘facilities’ which are made available to Judges should not be utilised to assert a claim to privilege which sets them apart from society or as a manifestation of power or authority,” CJI Chandrachud wrote to the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday.
He wrote that the communication has given rise to “justifiable disquiet both within and outside the judiciary”.
CJI Chandrachud pointed out that an HC judge does not possess disciplinary jurisdiction over Railways personnel. “Hence, there was no occasion for an officer of the High Court to call for an explanation from the Railway personnel ‘to be placed before His Lordship for kind perusal’.”
The CJI stated in the missive that “self-reflection and counselling within the judiciary is necessary” and that protocol made available to judges should not be used in a manner that brings criticism to the judiciary.
While the Railways and CJI Chandrachud deserve accolades for their quick action, all functionaries of judiciary including the Chief Justices of High Courts must apprise themselves and their colleagues that in democratic Bharat, honourable judges must understand that they are being watched by people.
By acting and behaving like “ Lords” they have damaged the pillar of judiciary.Also, they must perform rather than run of personal benefits in their day today life.
Enclosed documents are letters written by Allahabad High Court Registrar ( Protocol) on behalf of Justice Choudhary and CJP Chandrachud for perusal of readers.