Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi has sacked two Supreme Court employees, known as court masters, for tampering with a court order in a contempt case related to businessman Anil Ambani.
The two sacked employees are Manav Sharma and Tapan Kumar Chakaraborty. Both were found to have tampered with the court order of the Supreme Court in Ericsson’s contempt case against Reliance Communications and Anil Ambani.
A report by The Telegraph said that the order in question was of 7 January, when the Supreme Court had issued a notice to Anil Ambani, seeking his personal appearance in the top court. However, the order on website read, “personal appearance of the alleged contemnor(s) dispensed with.” This implied that Ambani was not required to be physically present in the Supreme Court.
An inquiry was launched and the court found both employees guilty of tampering with the order. On 10 January, the court order on the website was revised as the new order read, “Personal appearance of the alleged contemnor(s) is not dispensed with.”
Justice Gogoi, who is also the administrative head of the Supreme Court, and Justice Nariman, who is heading the two-judge bench in the contempt case against Ambani, had taken a dim view of the development.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, according to The Telegraph report, invoked his extraordinary powers by relying on Section 11(13) of the Supreme Court to sign an official order dismissing the two officials. Section 11(13) empowers the CJI to dismiss an employee under ‘extraordinary’ circumstances without resorting to normal disciplinary proceedings.
However, in this case, a disciplinary procedure was duly completed.
Swedish mobile company Ericsson had approached the Supreme Court to prevent Anil Ambani and two senior executives from his company from leaving India. It had accused Anil Ambani of willfully defaulting on previously- promised payment of Rs 550 crore by alleged abuse of process of law.
Ambani appeared in the Supreme Court on 12 and 13 February in the contempt case. While on Tuesday, he was in the court for two hours, he spent nearly the whole day on Wednesday.