Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud is displeased that an Allahabad High Court judge, Justice Gautam Chowdhary, has requested an explanation from the Railways regarding the delay of a train on which he recently travelled.
“Protocol ‘facilities’ made available to Judges should not be used to assert a claim to privilege that sets them apart from society or as a display of power or authority,” CJI Chandrachud wrote in a letter to the Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday.
He wrote that the communication has caused “justifiable unease within and without the judiciary.”
CJI Chandrachud stated that a High Court judge lacks disciplinary authority over Railways employees. “Therefore, there was no reason for a High Court officer to request an explanation from Railway personnel ‘to be submitted for His Lordship’s consideration.
In the letter, the CJI stated that “self-reflection and counselling are necessary within the judiciary” and that protocol made available to judges should not be utilised in a way that brings criticism to the judiciary.
The Registrar (Protocol) of the Allahabad High Court, Ashish Srivastava, declined to comment on the matter and stated that he was unaware of the CJI’s letter.
Justice Chowdhary, via a letter issued by the High Court’s Registrar (Protocol), had demanded an explanation from “erring officials” of the Indian Railways and others after the Purushottam Express was over three hours late on July 8.
Justice Chowdhary, who was travelling in the First AC carriage of the train, stated that he did not receive refreshments despite repeated requests, nor did the Government Railway Police attend to him. The letter to the general manager of North Central Railway stated that the incident “caused His Lordship considerable inconvenience and displeasure.”
The Railways determined that the New Delhi-Prayagraj train was delayed as a result of the rising water level of the Yamuna in Delhi and the resulting flooding in the capital city. In addition, per his request, the Railways served Justice Chowdhary tea without sugar, vegetable cutlets, and bread with butter for breakfast at 7.30 a.m.
In his letter, the CJI stated, “A prudent exercise of judicial authority, both on and off the Bench, is what sustains the credibility and legitimacy of the judiciary and society’s confidence in its judges.”
A member of the IRCTC has informed the Railways in writing that Justice Chowdary was attended to at approximately 7:00 a.m.
The IRCTC has informed the Railways that the pantry car manager has been deboarded with immediate effect due to the severe lapses in service to the Honourable Justice.
In addition, the IRCTC informed the Railways hat the caterer had been counselled.