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Under the Peruke

Under the Peruke
Two judges and a woman
In 1990, Justice S.K. Desai, senior-most judge of the Bombay HC, resigned following corruption charges. The allegations came out in open court through another judge who was hearing a multi-crore family dispute with Desai. Justice M.P. Kenia said he'd received threats from a woman on intimate terms with his fellow judge. Advocate general Arvind Bobde elaborated these charges in a letter to the governor. Desai quit.

Money in the toilet
A few months after the Desai controversy, Kenia himself was in the dock with reports of Rs 1.5 lakh being discovered in a toilet attached to his chamber. The city bar association passed a no-confidence motion against him and three other high court judges, alleging that their conduct hadn't been above board.

Books and dollars
In 1995, Bombay HC chief justice A.M. Bhattacharjee resigned after a controversy surrounding the sale of the rights of his book. He accepted US $80,000 as royalty for the overseas publication of Muslim Law and the Constitution. The little-known Roebuck publishing house which bought the rights was run by S.S. Musafir, son of Punjab politician G.S. Musafir. Lawyers' associations demanded an inquiry and Bhattacharjee resigned.

Public disservice commission
In May 2002, three judges of the Punjab and Haryana High Court—Amarbir Gill, Mehtab Gill and M.L. Singhal—were accused of having used judicial clout to get their nominees selected by the Punjab Public Service Commission. Two of the judges got jobs for their daughters and the third for the son of a colleague. The last CJI, B.N. Kirpal, asked for an inquiry. The report was submitted by HC chief justice Arun Saharya on August 26, but is yet to see light of day.

Lady doctor in distress
In October 2002, a Jodhpur-based lady doctor, facing prosecution in a lower court, said in a complaint to the police that the deputy registrar of the Rajasthan HC had offered to help her with the case provided she "obliged" him and an HC judge. The doctor taped her conversations with the deputy registrar and handed them over to the police. An FIR has been lodged.

Ruling the roost
In November 2002, three judges of the Karnataka HC were allegedly involved in a public brawl at a wayside hotel, The Roost, on the outskirts of Mysore. The judges were allegedly in the company of some women. Although the Mysore Police chief and the HC registrar have denied the incident, demands for a probe by the bar persist.
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