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Supreme Court Upholds Rejection Of Candidature To Judicial Post Citing Absence Of 'Honourable Acquittal' In Criminal Case

Ashok KM
24 Sep 2021 2:04 PM GMT
Supreme Court Upholds Rejection Of Candidature To Judicial Post Citing Absence Of Honourable Acquittal In Criminal Case
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The Court observed that common man's perception about credentials of judicial officer is vital and the lack of honourable acquittal will undermine public faith.

The perception of the common man about the credentials and background of the judicial officer is vital, the Supreme Court observed while upholding non-appointment of a candidate to a post of judicial officer on the ground of the absence of 'honourable acquittal' in criminal cases.The bench of Justices KM Joseph and PS Narasimha observed that most suitable persons should be occupying the post...

The perception of the common man about the credentials and background of the judicial officer is vital, the Supreme Court observed while upholding non-appointment of a candidate to a post of judicial officer on the ground of the absence of 'honourable acquittal' in criminal cases.

The bench of Justices KM Joseph and PS Narasimha observed that most suitable persons should be occupying the post of judicial officer, as they have perform most important functions of the State.

In this case, the candidate, who applied to the post of civil judge, voluntarily revealed that he was implicated in certain criminal cases. The Full Court of the Rajasthan High Court noted that offences in all the cases he was involved were serious in nature and acquittals were not clean. Thus his candidature was rejected following which he filed writ petition before the High Court. Allowing his petition, the High Court on its judicial side observed that offences under Section 323 and 324 IPC could not have been treated at par with other heinous offence. The denial of appointment was found unsustainable and unconstitutional.

In appeal filed by the Rajasthan High Court administrative side, the Apex court bench noted that the post of a judicial officer at any level of the hierarchy involves applying the most exacting standards. The court made the following observations in Para 22:

Most important functions of the State

This is for reasons which are obvious. The incumbent of a judicial post discharges one of the most important functions of the State, that is, the resolution of disputes involving the people of the country. Judges occupying the highest moral ground go a long way in building public confidence in the justice delivery system.

Character cannot be understood as being limited to a mere certifying of the character by the competent authority.

In fact, even in the advertisement, there is a reference to the requirement of the candidate being possessed of character. Character cannot be understood as being limited to a mere certifying of the character by the competent authority. The High Court is involved with the appointment of judicial officers and rightly so, under the scheme of the Constitution. Though the order of appointment is issued by the State, the involvement of the High Court in the appointment of judicial officers essentially flows from its position in the constitutional scheme. The High Court is duty bound to recommend the most suitable persons to occupy the post.

It is through the Civil Judge (Junior Division)/Magistrate that the common man has the greatest interface.

The post of a Civil Judge or a Magistrate is of the highest importance notwithstanding the fact that in the pyramidical structure of the judiciary, the Civil Judge or the Magistrate is at the lowest rung. We say this for the reason that of all the litigation which is instituted in the country, the highest volume of the same takes place at the lowest level. Not many of the cases finally reach the highest Court. It is through the Civil Judge (Junior Division)/Magistrate that the common man has the greatest interface.

In the absence of a honourable acquittal, the alleged involvement of an officer in criminal cases may undermine public faith in the system.

Most importantly, the perception of the common man about the credentials and background of the judicial officer is vital. We have only highlighted these aspects as a prelude to consider the facts of the case further. In other words, in the absence of a honourable acquittal, the alleged involvement of an officer in criminal cases may undermine public faith in the system.

Taking note of the age, the nature of the offences in which the candidate was implicated and the two FIRs and the acquittal based substantially on a compromise, the court allowed the appeal and said:

We would, therefore, think that bearing in mind the age, the nature of the offences in which the first respondent was implicated and the two FIRs, at any rate, in which the matter progressed from the stage of the FIR to the stage of chargesheeet and the manner in which the case ended viz., acquittal based substantially on a compromise and also where the witnesses turned hostile and also the nature of the post for which the first respondent was a candidate, the matter should have been approached differently by the High Court. (Para 30)


Citation: LL 2021 SC 494

Case name: Rajasthan High Court vs. Akashdeep Morya

Case no. | Date : CA 5733 OF 2021 | 16 September 2021

Coram: Justices KM Joseph and PS Narasimha

Counsel: Sr. Adv Meenakshi Arora for appellant, Adv Karan Singh Bhati for respondent


Click here to Read/Download Judgment


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