Madhya Pradesh High Court: The Division Bench of Ravi Malimath, CJ. and Vishal Mishra, J. allowed a writ petition and issued several directions setting aside the compulsory retirement of the petitioner from judicial services.
Petitioner had joined Madhya Pradesh Judicial Services as a Civil Judge Class-II on 25-10-1985. He was promoted to the Higher Judicial Services on 09-06-1997 and was designated as permanent on 03-01-2002. He was appointed to the Junior Administrative Grade on 09-06-2002. On 13-02-2003, a memorandum of charges was served on the petitioner while he was posted as an Additional District and Sessions Judge, Begumganj, District Raisen. High Court of Madhya Pradesh (Respondent 2) proposed to hold a departmental enquiry against him under Rule 14 (IV) of the Madhya Pradesh Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1966. The charges against the petitioner were related to certain judicial orders passed by him between 21-06-2001 to 12-08-2002 when he was posted as an Additional District and Sessions Judge at Guna.
The Enquiring Officer submitted his detailed report to the Disciplinary Authority exonerating the petitioner from all the charges. On 18-11-2005, a show cause notice was issued to the petitioner by the High Court indicating that the High Court disagrees with the findings of the Enquiring Officer. Later, an impugned order was issued to the petitioner compulsorily retiring him from service. Thus, instant writ petition was filed.
Counsel for the petitioner contended that the act of the respondents was erroneous and liable to be interfered with. That even though, the Enquiring Officer held that the charges have not been proved, the Disciplinary Authority reversed the same. It was also contended that even after making a request there was no grant of opportunity of a personal hearing to the writ petitioner.
The Court failed to appreciate the findings of the Disciplinary Authority. The Court opined that even according to the Disciplinary Authority, the grant of bail is in violation of the mandatory provisions, the same may reflect upon the competency of the Judge in understanding the law. It cannot lead to a conclusion that he is either corrupt or the order has been passed for extraneous consideration.
There may be a possibility that the concerned Judge has either misread the evidence or has applied it wrongly. At the most it only reflects upon his judicial competency and not that he is either corrupt or the order has been passed for extraneous consideration.
The Court further noted that the Enquiring Officer came to the conclusion that the writ petitioner may have been lenient in the grant of adjournments. The Court failed to understand as to how the Disciplinary Authority comes to a conclusion that the leniency shown by the Judges to the Bar requires to be ascertained in a microscopic examination.
One really does not know as to what happens when an adjournment is sought for. It is not proper to come to a conclusion that only because an adjournment has been granted, the integrity of a Judge has to be doubted.
The Court was unable to find any noting by any authority regarding his integrity, consequently the Court held that there wasn’t any valid reason for the Disciplinary Authority to reverse the findings of the Enquiring Officer and that the Disciplinary Authority committed a gross error in reversing the findings of the Enquiry Officer. The Court issued the following directions while allowing the petition:
(i) The order passed by the Disciplinary Authority dated 18.11.2005 (Annexure P/4) and the impugned order dated 12.05.2006 (Annexure P/10) compulsorily retiring the petitioner from services are hereby set aside;
(ii) The petitioner shall be entitled to 25% of the arrears of pay from the date of dismissal namely compulsory retirement w.e.f. 12.05.2006 upto the age of superannuation;
(iii) The respondents to rework his salary, his entitlements and all his retiral benefits accordingly;
(iv) He is entitled for re-fixation of his pay, pension and all related issues as a consequence of this order;
(v) The same shall be paid to the petitioner within a period of four months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.
[K.C. Rajwani v. State of Madhya Pradesh Law & Legislative Affairs, 2022 SCC OnLine MP 1550, decided on 23-06-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Mr Brian Da’Silva assisted by Mr Abhishek Dilraj, Advocates, for the Petitioner;
Mr Suyash Thakur, Advocate, for the Respondent 1;
Mr Ashish Shroti, Advocate, for the Respondent 2.
*Suchita Shukla, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.