Top
News Updates

Calcutta HC Reinstates Magistrate Who Was Compulsorily Retired; Imposes 1 Lakh Costs On Itself [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
6 July 2019 2:21 PM GMT
Calcutta HC Reinstates Magistrate Who Was Compulsorily Retired; Imposes 1 Lakh Costs On Itself [Read Judgment]

"Indeed, most Indians look the other way even when a crime is committed in their presence or a grievous wrong is done, lest they be dragged into any avoidable court proceedings. This judicial officer foolishly thought that he could single-handedly take on the smuggler mafia."

Your free access to Live Law has expired
To read the article, get a premium account.
    Your Subscription Supports Independent Journalism
Subscription starts from
599+GST
(For 6 Months)
Premium account gives you:
  • Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.
  • Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.
Already a subscriber?

While reinstating a judicial officer who was compulsorily retired from service, the Calcutta High Court ordered itself  to pay costs of Rupees one lakh to him.

Mintu Mallick was holding the dual charge of Judicial Magistrate and Railway Magistrate, Sealdah. On 5th May 2007, while he was waiting for the train to reach his office, he was told by the locals that the train runs invariably late. He was informed that the usual late running of such train was due to it stopping illegally somewhere after the New Alipore station when contraband material would be offloaded from the train and the drivers and guards played ball with smugglers to facilitate the spurious trade.

Mallick then interfered in the matter and went to motorman's cabin and talked to the Driver. Faced with unsatisfactory answers, he directed the Railway police to ensure that the driver and the guard of the train were presented before the Railway Magistrate's court.

Before the Railway Magistrate's court, some railway employees led by one PK Singh, shouted slogans, used abusive language against the Railway Magistrate and disrupted work in the court. Upon P. K. Singh being taken into custody following the case instituted against him under Section 228 of the Indian Penal Code, violence erupted around the Railway Magistrate's court.

Later, the High Court initiated disciplinary proceedings against Mallick, and following charges were made. The first charge was that the judicial officer had travelled in the motorman's cabin in an unauthorised manner after making forcible entry therein despite the objection of the concerned motorman; that the judicial officer was in the habit of regularly travelling in the motorman's cabin despite being aware that it was illegal so to do. The second charge was that the judicial officer had exceeded his jurisdiction in enquiring of the driver as to the reasons for the late running of the train; that the judicial officer had compelled the motorman and the guard to submit a report on the late running of the train; and, that because of the unauthorised verbal direction of the judicial officer that the driver and the guard of the relevant train be taken to the railway police station and, thereafter, to the Railway Magistrate's court, there was a violent demonstration by the railway employees resulting in total disruption of train services within the Sealdah division from 11.45 am to 3.45 pm on the particular day.

Finally, punishment of compulsory retirement was imposed on him. The single bench, before which Mallick challenged this order, dismissed the writ petition.

The Division bench comprising of Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Suvra Ghosh allowed his writ appeal observing that the disciplinary committee finding him guilty of the charges cannot be sustained and the punishment imposed is disproportionate and shocking even if the guilt was established. The Court said:

There is no doubt that the appellant entered the motorman's cabin on the relevant date for a purpose. That is evident from the several statements of the appellant. He apparently intended to redress what he perceived was wrong. Whether it was the youthful exuberance of a fledgling judicial officer or the innocence of his age that prompted him to imagine that he could rid the system of the malaise, the appellant appears to have thought that it was within the bounds of his judicial authority as a Railway Magistrate to address the issue."


..It may have been wrong on the appellant's part to try to use his judicial office to right what he perceived was a public wrong. Indeed, most Indians look the other way even when a crime is committed in their presence or a grievous wrong is done, lest they be dragged into any avoidable court proceedings. This judicial officer foolishly thought that he could single-handedly take on the smuggler mafia.


"Rather than the judicial officer being protected by the High Court against the act of insult and intimidation faced by him in the Railway Magistrate's court by unruly railway employees, it was the Railway Magistrate who was pushed to the dock to suffer for wanting to remedy a public wrong. At any rate, the appellant may have acted in error or in excess of the authority that he perceived to possess but even the preliminary report said that it did not find that the appellant acted in bad faith or with any malicious intention. The preliminary report expressly said so. The inquiry report endorsed the preliminary report. Even the disciplinary authority did not expressly find the appellant to have acted in bad faith or with any malice." 

The Court ordered that he should be reinstated in service immediately and should be considered to have been in continuous service without any break. He will be entitled to all benefits and promotion as if no disciplinary proceedings had been initiated against the appellant, save the full complement of his salary, the court added. It was also ordered that he will be paid 75 per cent of the salary that he would have earned had he remained in service.

Click here to Download Judgment

Read Judgment


Next Story