The general administration department of Bihar has issued a notification sanctioning the dismissal of three lower court judges, who were implicated in a 2013 Nepal sex scandal, reports Hindi daily Jagran. According to the notification, their dismissal will be effective from February 12, 2014. They will not be eligible to get their salaries, any kind of allowances or pensions.
The three judicial officers are Nawada sub-judge Komal Ram, who was the judicial magistrate in Araria at the time of the alleged incident, Ara additional district and sessions judge Jitendra Nath Singh and Muzaffarpur family court’s principal judge Hari Nivas Gupta, who held these positions at that time.
The Supreme Court had last year vacated its 2015 stay on the proceeding and allowed the Bihar government to initiate action against the judges.
The 2013 Nepal sex scandal in which the three judges were implicated
The case had come to light in January 2014, when a Nepali newspaper ‘Udgosh’ reported that the Nepal police raided Biratnagar’s Metro hotel and found these officers in ‘indecent positions’ with several Nepali women. The paper reported that these men were taken into custody on January 26, 2014, after found in compromising positions in the hotel but subsequently released.
Following the report, Union Home Ministry deputy secretary SM Kandwal wrote to the Patna High Court’s registrar general asking for a probe in the matter. The Patna High Court, in turn, directed the Purnea district and sessions judge to probe the matter. The latter in his report wrote that the three judges said that at the time when the incident was reported they were not in Nepal but in India. The Purnea district and sessions judge, Sanjay Kumar in his report also mentioned that the Nepali daily ‘Udgosh’, which had first reported the incident, had tendered an apology for publishing a wrong story.
However, not satisfied by the probe conducted by Sanjay Kumar, the Patna High Court asked Home Ministry to intervene.
An agency of the MHA tracked the mobile phone history of the accused judges and found that their phones had been simultaneously switched off on January 26-27, 2013, and when it became active again it was traced somewhere near Nepal’s Forbesganj town, indicating that the three were in Nepal and not in India as claimed by them.
The report filed by the home ministry also mentioned that the hotel bills the accused judges had submitted to substantiate their claims that on the day of the incident, they were in Purnea, Bihar and not in Nepal were fabricated. The report said that the hotel bills were prepared and signed by one of the accused judge himself. Based on the findings, a resolution was passed approving the dismissals of the three judges.
Meanwhile, in February 2014, the three accused judges filed a petition in the High Court against their dismissal. The judicial officers thereafter moved the SC contending that they cannot be dismissed without a disciplinary inquiry be held against them.
In the meantime, the full court of Patna HC passed orders recommending their dismissal in compliance of the HC order but the Supreme Court had in 2015 stayed the proceedings against them restraining the State Gov. from acting on the recommendation.
However, in 2019, a bench of Justices Indu Malhotra and Sanjiv Khanna dismissed the petition of the accused judicial officers and upheld the High Court verdict and vacated the stay. It allowed the State government to take a decision on the HC’s recommendation on their dismissal. It said that the judges could challenge the dismissal orders once passed by the State government.