The Karnataka high court has struck down three circulars issued by its Chief Justice P D Dinakaran against whom allegations of land grabbing have been raised.
The first circular that was quashed by a division bench, comprising Justice N Kumar and Justice Srinivasagowda on Friday, concerned the chief justice's power to hear cases filed by employees of high court and judicial officers against his administrative decisions.
The second circular that was struck down related to the sitting chief justice's jurisdiction in deciding which circuit bench should hear a particular case.
The judgment paves the way for litigants in North Karnataka to approach the principal bench directly, which they could not do earlier.
According to the first circular, cases by court employees and judicial officers challenging the Chief Jutice's orders were posted to hall one, where the CJ sits.
Allowing a petition filed by M S Poojari, a peon in the High Court, the court said the circular cleared the way for CJ to be a judge in a case where he is also the litigant.
However, no one can simultaneously be a litigant and a judge, it said.
The bench also overturned a third circular which had ordered the court registry to list all interlocutory applications) as miscellaneous petitions. Justice Dinakaran had issued these circulars on December 29 last.
Justice Dinakaran has not been sitting on the bench after land grabbing allegations surfaced against him, over which impeachment proceedings are on in Rajya Sabha.
The court further directed the Registry that any petition filed by employees of High Court and judicial officers of subordinate courts, challenging the administrative powers of the CJ, should be posted before a single bench.
In view of the circular making the Chief Justice, a judge in his own case, the petitioning employee may feel that justice will not be meted out to him by the CJ, the court observed.