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Judiciary

Chamoli District Judge suspended for obtaining woman’s call records, cleared of misconduct charge by Uttarakhand HC

By Shreya Agarwal      16 January, 2024 08:49 PM      0 Comments

NAINITAL: The Uttarakhand High Court has set aside the suspension of, and cancelled charges against a District and Sessions Court judge, one Dhananjay Chaturvedi, who was accused of recording witness statements even in his physical absence, and of obtaining call detail records of a woman employee, according to a media report.

The matter was being heard by a division bench of Justices Rakesh Thapliyal and Justice Pankaj Purohit.

The judge was suspended in July last year, and the subsequent chargesheet filed against him on August 10, 2023 on a complaint by one Adv. Hem Vashishtha.

While the complaint was filed with the Uttarakhand High Court Registrar, the Vigilance Department and the Chief Justice of Uttarakhand, the judge pointed out procedural irregularities in its filing.

These included the lack of a signature and date on the complaint, posting from the Haldwani post office, contrary to the rules requiring dispatch from the Chamoli post office, non-registration of the complainant advocate with the Chamoli District Bar Association, and filing of the complaint in a regular format, as opposed to through an affidavit, which is mandatory by law for raising complaints against judicial officers.

Alleging that the complaint was actually a seniority dispute between batch officers, the judge stated that the woman complainant was in fact in touch with Chamoli's former district judge Narendra Dutt, and was at his residence in Dehradun on May 6.

Brief facts

The District and Sessions Judge of Chamoli district, Dhananjay Chaturvedi, had been put under suspension by the Registrar-General of the Uttarakhand High Court on charges of ‘misusing his position’.

The suspension order had stated that Chaturvedi had “abused his official position while obtaining self-serving statements from his subordinates and advocates appearing in his court and also obtaining call-detail records (CDR) of a female employee, which is infringement of her personal right to privacy and breach of the law relating to summoning the call records of any person.”

The suspension order also stated that during his suspension, Chaturvedi would remain attached to the district and sessions judge's office in Champawat.

Further, it was found that recording of evidence was happening in his court, even in his physical absence.

Chaturvedi had said then that he was suffering from kidney stones and frequently had to use the toilet, but that he directed the recording of evidence to stop whenever he left.

However, a video clip accessed by the High Court had shown otherwise. The Registrar-General had then ordered that there were grounds to conduct an enquiry in the matter. He was issued a show cause notice by the High Court in April.



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