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Kerala HC Refuses Sessions Judge’s Plea To Expunge Critical Remarks Made Against His Approach To Criminal Trial [Read Judgment]

“None of those observations shall stand in the way of career progression of the judge in any manner,” the bench clarified.

A division bench of Kerala High Court has refused a judge’s plea to expunge certain remarks made in a judgment in which some critical observations were made against him, though it clarified that none of those observations shall stand in the way of career progression of the judge in any manner.

The bench comprising of Justice PR Ramachandra Menon and Justice A Hariprasad while setting aside a trial court judgment had made serious comments against the trial court judge who had found the accused guilty by referring to the case diary statements of the witnesses, which were either deviated from or not proved at the trial.

The bench had termed such an action on the part of the sessions judge as the height of illegality possible in a criminal trial. “We express deep anguish for the lack of legalistic and justice oriented approach on the part of a senior judicial officer in the subordinate judiciary,” the bench had said. Read the Live Law report here.

The judge then approached the high court seeking to expunge remarks made in the judgment against him and also a declaration that the said observations are not to be relied upon to the detriment of his judicial career.

The bench, refusing to expunge the observations, said: “We frowned upon that practice as it is prohibited by law. In the light of apprehension of the petitioner, revealed from the averments in the petition, we once again carefully read our judgment. We find nothing personally castigating the judicial officer.”

The bench added that no observation in the judgment was intended to affect the career advancement of the said judge. “What was intended is only to send a clear signal that a judicial officer engaged in criminal trial should correctly understand the scope of the statements recorded under Section 161 CrPC and for what purpose it should be used,” the court said.

We clarify that none of the observations, which now the petitioner says that it may work against him, was intended to harm the officer, but they were made only to inform and educate the judicial officers engaged in criminal trials,” the court said disposing of his petition.

Read the Judgment here.

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