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Thursday, December 7, 2023

‘Not just road accident’: SC seeks report on Jharkhand judge death

The Supreme Court on Friday took suo motu cognisance of the alleged mowing down of Dhanbad Additional District Judge Uttam Anand by an auto-rickshaw and sought a status report of investigation from the Jharkhand government through the Chief Secretary and the DGP within a week.

A bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana and Justice Surya Kant said: “This gruesome incident has been widely reported in newspapers, and video clippings of the incident are also being circulated on social media platforms, suggesting that it was not a case of simplicitor road accident.”

SCBA President and senior advocate Vikas Singh on Thursday asked the top court to take suo moto cognisance of the alleged killing of Anand.

The bench said it is cognizant of the fact that the Jharkhand High Court has taken note of the nature of the incident and initiated necessary action to ensure that the state government protects the law and order situation within and outside the court premises.

“Having regard to the seriousness of the issue and its larger ramifications, we direct the Chief Secretary and Director General of Police, State of Jharkhand to jointly submit a status report of inquiry vis-a-vis the sad demise of Judicial Officer, Shri Uttam Anand, with the Registry of this Court within a week’s time,” said the bench.

The bench made it very clear that it is not interfering in the proceedings going on before the high court and added similar incidents are happening across the country.

“Taking into consideration the duty and obligation of the state to create an environment and accord full protection to judicial officers as well as the legal fraternity so that they can perform their duties fearlessly, we deem it appropriate to take up this matter suo motu,” the top court said, in its order.

It emphasised there is an urgent need for wider consideration and consequential detailed explanation by all concerned. “We will consider the desirability of issuing notice to all other states and Union Territories on the next date of hearing,” it added.

The bench directed the Jharkhand Advocate General to appear before it on the next date of hearing.

“Registry to serve a copy of this order to the Advocate General of the State of Jharkhand forthwith. A copy of this order may also be served on the learned Attorney General for his assistance in this matter,” added the bench, fixing the matter for further hearing on August 6.

ADJ Anand, said to be handling cases in connection with gangsters, was hit by an auto-rickshaw on his morning walk on Wednesday and succumbed to the injuries at the hospital. CCTV footage indicated that he was deliberately hit by the auto-rickshaw which was stolen on the previous night. His wife has reportedly lodged a murder case against unknown people.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed with minor edits to conform to Hindu-Post style-guide.)

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