The Madras High Court has expressed alarm over hundred case bundles going missing like "vessels in the Bermuda Triangle" and ordered a CBI probe into the "disappearance" of the papers that were sent to the residence of a judge, who has since retired. The bundles had gone missing after they were sent over a period of time to the residence of then sitting judge Justice T Mathivanan, who retired in May last year, the court was told. "This court is worried about the missing case records from Chartered High Court, which is also the Court of Records", Justice G Jayachandran said in his order yesterday directing the CBI to investigate the matter.
"It is alarming to note that case bundles, hundred in number, disappearing... like missing vessels in the Bermuda triangle," the judge said. Reconstruction of missing records may be the solution on the administrative side but the fact that 100 case bundles were not returned from the residence of the retired judge cannot be ignored, he said. The matter came to the fore after a petitioner had submitted in the court earlier that though his plea was allowed by Justice Mathivanan on March 21, 2017 with pronouncement of the order in an open court, he was unable to get a copy of the written order.
When the matter was brought to the notice of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee, she had directed the reconstruction of the case bundle and posted it before Justice Jayachandran. When it came up for hearing on Tuesday, the judge was informed that there were several such cases where the former judge had reserved orders or pronounced the order in an open court but the order copies had not seen the light of the day. An enquiry ordered by the Registry revealed that papers of about 100 cases on which Justice Mathivanan had reserved orders were missing, Justice Jayachandran was informed.
The judge said it "appears that despite in-house investigation ordered by the Chief Justice, till date the case records sent to the judge's residence have not been retrieved." Noting that 10 petitions on 'matters related to reconstruction' were listed for hearing before him, the judge said in all these cases the CBI was the prosecution agency. In his order, Justice Jayachandran said, "This court is constrained to direct the Central Bureau of Investigation to take up the information for investigation. Copy of this order is marked to the Joint Director of CBI, Chennai Zone for necessary action.