Friday, October 8, 2010

Court forces judge to retire

Ahmedabad: A judge without clarity of thought and ability to write reasoned judgments is a burden on judiciary and not fit to be retained in service, the Gujarat high court has observed while confirming the forced retirement of a lower court judge.

NP Mehta was appointed as civil judge (junior division) in 1996. He was sent to deputation in the labour court for some time. In 2005, he was promoted to the post of civil judge (senior division) and JMFC. On October 26, 2009, the judiciary and the state government made him retire “in public interest”.
Mehta challenged the decision to retire him before the division bench, which called for his service records only to find adverse remarks against him. He was not found to be hard-working, was poor in disposal of cases, had no studious habit, could not reach just and right conclusions, and he was not regular and punctual. Still, Mehta was promoted in 2005, after which he was found to be impolite and inconsistent in his dealings with members of the Bar.
On Mehta’s lawyer’s argument that the forced retirement was a mala fide order, a bench headed by chief justice SJ Mukhopadhaya observed that the adverse remarks speak volume about the quality of the judge.
“In the present case, apart from the fact that the performance of the judge was poor, we find that the order of retirement has been passed on the basis of the record of service, any reasonable person would form only one opinion that he is a burden on the judiciary and not fit to be retained in service,” the court noticed.

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