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Notice of Motion for presenting an address to the President of India for Removal of Justice KL Manjunath

NOTICE OF MOTION FOR PRESENTING AN ADDRESS TO THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA FOR THE REMOVAL OF Mr. JUSTICE K L MANJUNATH, JUDGE OF THE KARNATAKA HIGH COURT, UNDER ARTICLE 217 READ WITH 124 (4) OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA

THIS HOUSE RESOLVES that an address be presented to the President for the removal of Mr. Justice K L Manjunath from the office of Judge of the Karnataka High Court for his following acts of misbehaviour amongst others and detailed in the Explanatory Note annexed herewith:
I. That he possesses wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.

II. That he heard and decideda writ petition in favour of a housing society in which his daughter Ms. K M Chaitra owns a plot

III.That he did not declare his assets to the Chief Justice and to the public, in violation of the Full Court Resolution of 1997
EXPLANATORY NOTE ON THE MOTION FOR IMPEACHMENT OF MR. JUSTICE K L MANJUNATH, JUDGE, KARNATAKA HIGH COURT

1. Justice K L Manjunath was elevated as an Additional Judge of the Karnataka High Court of 11.12.2000 and as a permanent Judge on 27.10.2001. He has been reportedly proposed by the Supreme Court collegium to become the senior puisne judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, though the Union Government has reportedly expressed reservations against such an elevation. There is enough prime facie material to start the process of inquiry under the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968 which could then verify these charges and also find out if there are any more disproportionate assets of Justice Manjunath.

Disproportionate assets

2. Justice Manjunath, after being elevated an additional judge in 2000 and a permanent judge in 2001, has abused his position to amass several movable and immovable properties crores of rupees disproportionate to his known sources of income.

3. The properties have been registered in the names of his family members

a) Ms. K M Chaitra, Daughter

b) SmtThangyamma alias Lakshamma, Mother-in-Law

c) Smt. Pushpalatha, Wife

Though the documents/instruments for purchase of immovable properties have been executed in the name of the aforesaid family members, the funds for the purchase of the same have been provided by Justice Manjunath only since the above family members have no independent source of income.

4. Ms. K M Chaitra, daughter of Justice Manjunath, purchased a residential property admeasuring about 507 sqmts, bearing BDA site no. 402 in Vyalikaval House Building Cooperative Society in Bangalore, vide a registered sale deed dated 09.02.2004 purportedly for a consideration of Rs 6,82,500/-. Ms. Chaitra was studying MBBS in 2004 and had no independent source of income. A copy of the sale deed dated 09.02.2004 executed jointly by the society and the developer in favour of Ms. Chaitra is annexed as Annexure A.She was not eligible, as her family already owned residence house in Bangalore. Justice Manjunath later decided a case in favour of the said society which is a clear case of conflict of interest and a violation of code of judicial conduct.

5. SmtThangamma, mother-in-law of Justice Manjunath purchased an agriculture land in RamnagaraTaluk, Karnataka, measuring about 6 acres 15 guntas for a sale consideration of Rs 4,16,000/-, vide sale deed dated 23.10.2003. The said transaction is grossly under-valued as the market value of 1 acre of land in about 2003 was more than Rs 10 lakhs. A copy of the registered sale deed dated 23.10.2003 is annexed as Annexure B.

6.  Within two months of purchasing the above mentioned 6 acres 15 guntasof agricultural land, SmtThangamma purchased another 8 acres of agriculture land in the same RamnagaraTaluk, Karnataka for a total consideration of Rs 4,98,000/- which transaction was again under-valued as the prevailing price was Rs 10 lakh per acre and the minimum registration value was Rs 7,01,500/-. A copy of the registered sale deed dated 12.12.2003 is annexed as Annexure C.

7. Regarding the above two transactions, it is noteworthy that SmtThangayamma has no independent source of income to pay the aforesaid considerationsto purchase the immovable properties described above. Also, there is no reason for the sellers of the aforesaid immovable properties to sell them at much below market rates, except for the reason that she was the mother-in-law of a High Court judge, for whose benefit the land was bought benami. Even otherwise the purchase of aforesaid agricultural lands vide sale deeds dated 23.10.2003 and 12.12.2003 is violative of Section 79A of Karnataka Land Reforms Act 1961 which bars persons having non-agricultural income of above Rs 2 lakhs from buying agricultural land in Karnataka.

8.  Smt. Pushpalatha, wife of Justice Manjunath and Smt. Thangyamma, mother-in-law of Justice Manjunath, purchased two sites bearing site no. 610 and site no. 611 respectively measuring about 444.52 sq yards each from one Smt. SumitarammaSreenivas for a total sale consideration of Rs 1 crore each vide separate sale deeds dated 03.12.2007. Copies of the said two sale deeds are annexed as Annexure D. The said amount has been paid to the seller by the above two ladies by availing a total bank loan of RS 2 croes from Karnataka State Co-operative Apex Bank Ltd, Basaveshwarnagar Brach, Karnataka which now stands repaid. The details of the properties kept as security for the loan are unknown. It is also unknown as to how such a huge loan of Rs 2 crores was re-paid by these two ladies without having any independent source of income.

9.  The above said properties at site 610 and 611, have now been leased out for a period of 3 years to acompany Suraksha Car Care Pvt Ltd by SmtPushpalatha for a monthly rental of Rs 1 lakh per month vide an unregistered sale deed dated 23.05.2012, a copy of which is annexed as Annexure E. The deed has not been registered, presumably to avoid the payment of registration charges and stamp duty. Besides the market value of the aforesaid properties would be in the vicinity of Rs 12 crores.

10.  A sale deed was executed in favour of SmtPushpalatha by one N. Narayan Prasad for a consideration of Rs 95 lakhs with respect to a commercial property bearing no. 30 situated at 4th Cross Road, 4th Block, Kumarapark, West Extension, Bangalore. The property was worth about Rs 3 crores and was sold to Justice Manjunath’s wife at a much undervalued price. The sale deed mentions that an amount of Rs 10 lakh is given by one Mr. Shivalingiah and the remaining Rs 85 lakh has been financed by Karnataka Bank. It is not clear as to who this Mr. Shivalingiah is and how the loan taken from Karnataka Bank of a huge sum of Rs 85 lakh has been repaid in short span of time.  A copy of the above sale deed dated 06.08.2012 is annexed as Annexure F.

Deciding a case with clear conflict of interest

11.  Ms. K M Chaitra, daughter of Justice Manjunath, purchased a residential property admeasuring about 507 sqmts, bearing BDA site no. 402 in Vyalikaval House Building Cooperative Society in Bangalore, vide a registered sale deed dated 09.02.2004 purportedly for a consideration of Rs 6,82,500/-. Ms. Chaitra was studying MBBS in 2004 and had no independent source of income. A copy of the sale deed dated 09.02.2004 executed jointly by the society and the developer in favour of Ms. Chaitra is already annexed above as Annexure A.She was not eligible, as her family already owned residence house in Bangalore.

12.  Pursuant to various complaints received by the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) in regard to allotment of sites by the said Society to non-members, BDA issued show-cause notice to the Society on 18.03.2005 directing it to suspend development works in the layout. Upon the refusal of the Society to obey its orders, BDA passed an order on 30.03.2005 withdrawing its approval to the layout plan and the work order. A copy of the show-cause notice dated 18.03.2005 and the order dated 30.03.2005 are annexed as Annexure G.

13.  The Society subsequently filed a writ petition against BDA bearing WP No. 12356/2005 before the Karnataka High Court seeking quashing of orders dated 18.03.2005 and 30.03.2005 passed by the BDA. The writ petition came up for hearing before Justice Manjunath, who despite having full knowledge of the fact that his daughter Ms. K M Chaitra had purchased a plot in the Society, Justice Manjunath did not recuse himself from hearing the matter and decided the case in favour of the society by quashing the aforesaid orders of the BDA. A copy of the said writ petition filed by the Society along with the order dated 05.07.2005 passed by Justice Manjunath in that writ petition is annexed as Annexure H.

14. The conduct of Justice Manjunath is against judicial ethics and the Code of Conduct adopted by the Conference of Chief Justices held in December 1999 in the Supreme Court. Justice Manjunath cannot but be aware that his daughter owned a plot in the said Society since the consideration for the plot must have come from Justice Manjunath himself as his daughter was only a student with no source of income. Justice Manjunath decided the case on behalf of the Society despite the fact that there were a large number of complaints against the Society, it had been indicted by several judicial orders and had not approached with clean hands. Also other petitions were pending against the Society which had to be decided along with the petition filed by the Society, a fact brought to the attention of the court by the persons who filed intervention applications (copy annexed as Annexure I).The Supreme Courthad held that the Society was not a bona fide housing society and had enrolled bogus members. Copies of the orders/judgments of the Supreme Court dated 21.02.1995 and 02.02.2007 are annexed as Annexure J.Despite the above clear findings of the Supreme Court, Justice Manjunath proceeded to hear and decide the matters in favour of the society in which we had a clear conflict of interest.

Failing to disclose his assets

15. Justice Manjunath is the only judge of Karnataka High Court who has not disclosed his assets and liabilities while all other judges of the Karnataka High Court have done so as far back as 2010 and same are available on the High Court website, just like the assets of all Supreme Court judges. The actions of Justice Manjunath are in violation of the Code of Conduct made by the full court meeting of the Supreme Court of India on May 7, 1997 that mandate declaration of assets of oneself and dependents by all the judges.