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'Heavy Unexplained Bank Transactions': Supreme Court Upholds Compulsory Retirement Penalty Imposed On Judicial Officer

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
2 Aug 2021 3:35 PM GMT
Heavy Unexplained Bank Transactions:  Supreme Court Upholds Compulsory Retirement Penalty Imposed On Judicial Officer
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The Supreme Court upheld an order directing compulsory retirement of a Judicial Officer in Haryana.In this case, the disciplinary proceedings were initiated against a judicial officer after preliminary enquiry against him revealed that there were "heavy unexplained bank transactions". The Inquiring Authority submitted a report on 23.05.2016 finding the petitioner guilty of...

The Supreme Court upheld an order directing compulsory retirement of a Judicial Officer in Haryana.

In this case, the disciplinary proceedings were initiated against a judicial officer after preliminary enquiry against him revealed that there were "heavy unexplained bank transactions". The Inquiring Authority submitted a report on 23.05.2016 finding the petitioner guilty of unexplained transactions. However, the vigilance/Disciplinary Committee of the High Court found that the charges levelled against the petitioner were not proved and recommended that he be cleared of all the charges. But the Full court of the Punjab and Haryana High Court refused to accept these recommendations and resolved to impose compulsory retirement penalty. Later, the Competent Authority passed order compulsorily retiring him from the membership of Haryana Superior Judicial Service.

Challenging these orders, the judicial officer approached the Apex Court by filing the writ petition. He contended that once the vigilance/Disciplinary Committee had concluded that there was nothing against the petitioner, such conclusion was "for and on behalf of the Full Court" of the High Court and therefore, the Full Court could not and ought not to have recommended compulsory retirement. 

Referring to observations made in State of Uttar Pradesh vs. Batuk Deo Pati Tripathi, on which the petitioner relied on, the bench comprising Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Ajay Rastogi observed:

"11. The quoted portion from para 18 of the decision discloses that this Court accepted that for the convenience of transacting administrative business and for smooth functioning of day-to-day matters pertaining to control over the subordinate judiciary, it would be possible for the High Court to authorize and empower an Administrative Judge or an Administrative Committee of Judges to act on behalf of the Court. It was in the context of such specific authorization in favour of the Administrative Committee in terms of Rule 1 of Chapter III of Rules of Court, 1952, framed by the High Court, that the recommendations made by the Administrative Committee were found to be without any constitutional infirmity. 12. It does not however mean that even in the absence of Rules authorizing or empowering the Committee, the decision made by or conclusions arrived at by the Committee would be binding on the Full Court or that the Full Court would not be within its jurisdiction to take a different view in the matter. The submission advanced by Mr. Swarup therefore, must be rejected"

"Considering the facts and circumstances on record and in view of the record indicating that there were multiple transactions showing deposits and withdrawals of substantial amounts of money, it cannot be said that the Full Court was not justified in taking the view that it did. We do not find any reason to take a different view in the matter.", the bench said while dismissing the writ petition. It also refused the plea to withdraw the writ petition.

Case: Rajinder Goel vs. High Court of Punjab & Haryana ; WPC 696 OF 2021
Coram: Justices Uday Umesh Lalit and Ajay Rastogi
Citation: LL 2021 SC 339

Click here to Read/Download Judgment




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