tripura high court

Tripura High Court: A writ petition was filed by petitioner, a Grade III Judicial Officer challenging an order of his discharge on alleged ground of him approaching the Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India (‘the Minister’) for his transfer recommendation and for his unavailability from his Court and chamber. The Division Bench of T. Amarnath Goud* and Biswajit Palit JJ., dismissed the writ petition and upheld the discharge order and further held that “the conduct of petitioner was unbecoming of Judicial Officer and doubtful”.


Petitioner was selected as Grade-III Judicial Officer, and he joined Tripura Judicial Service and after completion of training he was posted as a Civil Judge, Junior Division cum Judicial Magistrate of 1st Class, Khowai, Tripura. On 29-3-2022, petitioner received a show cause notice which was sent to petitioner by the Registrar Vigilance, Tripura High Court after his absence from his office during visit of Justice A. Lodh and to that petitioner replied on 4-4-2022 stating that he was ill. On 18-7-2022, petitioner received a notice dated 12-7-2022 issued by the Registrar Vigilance, Tripura High Court alleging that the Registry of Tripura High Court had received a letter from the Minister with a recommendation for transfer of petitioner from Khowai District Court to West Tripura or Sepahijala or any other district adjacent to the house of petitioner.

Petitioner thereafter was accused of approaching the Minister to recommend his transfer and petitioner was charged with exercising extraneous influence upon the Tripura High Court (‘the High Court’). Thereafter, the District and Sessions Judge, Khowai (‘the District Judge’) vide order dated 21-11-2022 reduced 50% of his approved house rent for reimbursement. Petitioner thus challenged the validity of the order of the District Judge and prayed for its cancellation. The Full Court recommended that petitioner’s “demeanour was unbecoming of a judicial officer and his integrity was also doubtful” and after relying on the recommendation, a Notification dated 27-12-2022 was issued by the Law Department, Government of Tripura discharging petitioner from service. Hence, petitioner filed the present writ petition.

Petitioner submitted that the impugned order dated 27-12-2022, which indicated that his integrity and services as a Judicial Officer was doubted, had created a stigma. The discharge order had been passed without conducting an inquiry and giving him opportunity and was liable to be set aside. Further regarding HRA, respondent submitted that only 24% of the basic pay was the HRA and in the case of petitioner it would be Rs 6,480 to which he was entitled, whereas petitioner was drawing Rs 23, 500 which was not permissible.

Analysis, Law, and Decision

The Court observed that it appeared from the record that the Registry of Tripura High Court received a DO letter dated 14-6-2022 from the Minister with a recommendation to transfer petitioner to any station near his residence at Agartala and it was transpired that petitioner had approached the Minister for his transfer.

The Court opined that after proper perusal of petitioner’s conduct to approach the Registry of the High Court for his transfer and thereafter issuance of the letter by the Minster for the transfer of petitioner without approaching the Minister and the same was to be ‘Act of God’ was highly suspicious and thus the Court did not accept petitioner’s contention. The Court further did not accept petitioner’s contention that somebody had played game to defame petitioner and opined that such situation was hypothetical and could not be accepted. The Court opined that such conduct of petitioner was unbecoming of a Judicial Officer and petitioner had failed to prove his innocence.

The Court further opined that the High Court had received a confidential report from the District Judge, where it was revealed that petitioner was found unavailable in his Court during several visits of the District Judge. The Court observed that petitioner was granted two days’ casual leave but overstayed for further two days without sanction of such leave. With regard to his overstay, he had communicated about his illness over WhatsApp to the District Judge and on the date of the visit of Justice A. Lodh, he alleged to be seriously ill to attend the Court. The Court after considering petitioner’s submissions and report made by the District Judge opined that petitioner had series of excuses without proper reasoning on various occasions, which created doubt in the Court on the reasoning of the excuses for not remaining present in his Court.

On the point that petitioner was discharged from his service without inquiry, the Court referred to Rule 15(6) of the Tripura Judicial Service Rules, 2003 and opined that inquiry was not required as petitioner was a probationer at the time of his discharge and this provision had not come under challenge before the Court. The Court further opined that petitioner was not covered under Article 311 of the Constitution as it was for permanent employees. Regarding HRA, the Court was in consonance with respondent’s submission and thus held the act of petitioner to withdraw Rs 23,500 to be not permissible.

The Court noted the argument of petitioner that Full Court’s recommendation that petitioner’s “demeanour was unbecoming of a Judicial Officer, and his integrity was also doubtful” was the stigma and the same was hampering the future employment aspect of petitioner and held that it was optimally clear that the conduct of petitioner was unbecoming of Judicial officer and doubtful. The Court further opined that after taking lenient view and keeping the career of petitioner in mind, the observation given by the Full Court could be replaced with the observation that “the conduct of petitioner was unbecoming of Judicial Officer and doubtful” and the same was ordered. The Court further upheld the discharge of petitioner from service and dismissed the writ petition.

[Koushik Karmakar v. State of Tripura, 2024 SCC OnLine Tri 50, decided on: 24-01-2024]

*Judgement authored by: Justice T. Amarnath Goud

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Petitioner: Petitioner-in-Person; C.S. Sinha and D.C. Saha, Advocates

For the Respondents: S.S. Dey, Advocate General; B.N. Majumder, Senior Advocate; B. Paul and A. Chakraborty, Advocates

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