Bombay HC Upholds Decision To Deny Appointment To Lawyer As Civil Judge Citing His ‘Criminal’ Past [Read Judgment]
A Division bench of Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice BP Colabawalla dismissed a petition filed by a lawyer who sought directions for his appointment to the post of Civil Judge, Junior Division and Judicial Magistrate, First Class. Although the petitioner had qualified for the post, his name was not recommended for judicial service by the Administrative Judge’s committee.
The Judge’s committee had taken such a decision after learning of a criminal case that was filed against him earlier. The petitioner was acquitted of the charges back in 2002 but the nature of these charges was serious. He was charged under S.324, 504 of the Indian Penal Code.
Petitioner’s advocate Vivek Salunke argued that the criminal case against his client was “completely frivolous” and was “instituted due to personal enmity with the complainant in the case”. However the bench held that if the facts of the case were looked into, petitioner’s acquittal in the case was “not clean but on the ground of reasonable doubt.” The bench went on to record in it’s order that there was only one witness in the case who had turned hostile hence the benefit of doubt was given to the petitioner.
Observing that the decision of the Hon'ble Administrative Judges' Committee was fully justified, the bench held that petitioner would not be a suitable candidate to be appointed in judicial service as he was not someone with an “unbelemished character.”
Court said – “To an average citizen in a remote area, a Court of Law is a temple of justice and the persons dispensing it are looked upon with the highest regard and respect. Therefore, when being selected for judicial service, a candidate like the petitioner, would have to live up to and meet even higher standards than any other candidate applying for a job with the Government or other civil services.”
Read the Judgment here.
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