Justice B J Shethana and Justice P B Majumdar, the two Gujarat High Court judges who were involved in a public squabble about a month ago, are being
transferred outside the state, Law Ministry sources indicated today.
Justice Shethna, who had allegedly showed his fist and "tried to attack" Justice Majmudar at his residence on January 11 following an altercation, has been transferred to Sikkim High Court, the sources said.
Deeply offended by the unseemly behaviour of the two judges, a collegium of judges of the Supreme Court also decided to transfer Justice Majumdar to a high court other than where Justice Shethna is being sent. .
Both the judges, when questioned by the collegium for their behaviour, had defended their position. Alleging discrimination and vindictiveness of his colleagues, Justice Shethna also reportedly threatened to resign if he was transferred. At one stage, he denied having raised his hand his colleague.
Just three days before the skirmish, the former president of the Gujarat High Court Bar Association had sent a petition to the then Chief Justice of India, Y K Sabharwal, objecting to Justice Shethna posing for a local health club.In the 50-second advertisement clip for Parsana Fitness and Gym, Justice Shethna is shown pumping iron and flexing his muscles.
The decision to transfer both the judges has been taken so that one may not think that he has been discriminated against because of other. Moreover, removing both of them from Gujarat High Court seemed the best way out of the embarrassment they caused to the judiciary at large," the sources said.
Full text of the letter by Justice PB Majmudar of Gujarat High Court to the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court, YR Meena, on January 11, complaining about Justice BJ Shethna, a copy of which was also sent to Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan:
During my entire judicial career, I have never written any letter of any kind to any of the judges or to the Chief Justice. However, with a heavy heart, I am constrained to write this letter to Your Lordship as the atmosphere at present is such that no Judge of this High Court is in a position to discharge their duties fearlessly.
Today morning, whatever happened, has already been narrated to Your Lordship by me at your Lordship's bungalow in the morning, but I would like to put it in black and white. Today, when I was returning from my morning walk along with my wife in my car, Justice Shethna asked me to wait and stopped my car, and then started talking with me and my wife. He addressed my wife, Mayuri, how are you? Why the flowers in the car are not fresh and tried to take little bit liberty with my wife for which I would not like to give any details.
Though I was little bit annoyed, at that time I did not say anything. Thereafter he asked me to park my car and start walking in the High Court Judges' facility.
Reluctantly, I joined him in such walking. At that time, he started saying as to why I am not coming to his house though I have come to stay in the Judges' bungalow. I told him frankly that he is not that close with me that I should visit his house. He then stated that a few days back, he came to my house, and I replied that I could not have prevented his entry into my house.
As we were strolling in the lane, at that time, Mrs Shethna also met us on the way as she was going out. She also stated as to why we are not coming to their house. I said that she should better ask Mr Shethna for that.
Thereafter, Justice Shethna compelled me to come to his house and physically dragged me to his compound as he is physically stronger as compared to me."
"Thereafter, he said that he is not maintaining any relations with his
son and brother (who are advocates).
I told him that I cannot believe that a father may not have any relations with his son or a brother with his elder brother and that he is saying so only to make a show that he has no one and a person need not be a hypocrite.
Thereafter, he started saying that his brother,Kersasp (K J Shethna) is a bogus person and therefore he is not keeping any relations with him and his brother is a 'gunda'. I told him that I am not prepared to believe him and further told him that I am not a hypocrite like him to say that I have no relations with my family members.
Thereafter, he told me that in my presence, he will talk to his brother whether his brother is not coming to his house because he has no cordial relations with him and saying that he immediately rang his brother on mobile (KJ Shethna) and told him that Pradip (myself) is saying that we are only making a show that you are not coming to his house and asked him whether it is correct or whether genuinely he is not coming to his house as they have no cordial relations.
After talking to his brother on phone, he immediately gave his mobile phone in my hand asking me to talk to his brother. I told his brother that Justice Shethna is saying that you have no cordial relations with him and that you are a gunda.
At this, Justice Shethna snatched away the mobile from my hand, and shouted "Get Out". Justice Shethna thereafter tried to attack me by threatening a fist blow and showed as if he was going to hit me and started shouting loudly
in such a manner that the entire neighbourhood could hear his voice.
I told him that I have not come to his house on my own, but he has dragged me to his house and though I am not as
strong as him, that should not mean that I will tolerate any assault. He told me that he is physically stronger and I may suffer fractures if he delivers a fist blow.
At this, I had raise my voice and tell him that though I am weaker physically, I will not tolerate assault. I also told him that I have not come to his house and it was he who physically dragged me into his house. However, I immediately ran away from his house to avoid any kind of physical assault. When I was going to my house, Brother Justice Kapadia met me and I narrated the incident to him. Thereafter, I immediately came to your lordship’s bungalow and asked for advice, as to whether I should file a criminal complaint, but My Lord stated that I may not do so, but may give in writing as filing of such complaint may spoil the atmosphere.
With due deference to your Lordship, I refrain myself from filing any complaint. I have informed your lordship orally in the morning as I believe that as a judge, I am required to discharge my judicial functions without any fear or favour.
I am writing this letter as your lordship is the Trustee of this Institution. To find out the truth, I will take whatever follow up action as may be suggested and if your lordship needs any further information, please let me know and I shall do so immediately."
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