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The Supreme Court on 3rd September 2019 awarded Rs. 20 Lakh to a former judicial officer who was compulsorily retired from service on allegations of corruption and was subsequently exonerated.

The order was passed by a bench of Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose in Yogesh M Vyas v Registrar, Gujarat High Court.

Vyas was a Judicial Officer who had joined judicial service in 1981 and had held various positions. During the period from June 15, 1992 to June 12, 1994, the appellant was working as Civil Judge (JD) and JMFC, Visnagar. It was alleged that he had granted seven bail orders against the provision of law. Another allegation was that in a civil case, after granting ex parte order, he had vacated injunction the very next day without notice to the plaintiff due to which the appellant was visited with the penalty of compulsory retirement on the basis of the report submitted against him.

Gujarat High Court, in a writ petition against the retirement order, said, “It was on account  of such approach on the part of the Magistrates that this Court on the administrative side had to establish a State Judicial Academy for imparting proper in-service training to the Magistrates to impress upon them that the Magistrate is not to grant bail for offences punishable with death or imprisonment for life unless the accused belongs to any of the excepted categories indicates in the first proviso to Section 437(1), or on an extraordinary occasion…”

The High Court came to the conclusion that no charge of corruption was made out against the appellant. Despite the same, the High Court was of the view that since the appellant had already been out of job for eight years and he was aged about 53 years, he should not be brought back in service after such a long time.

The Supreme Court however held that the appellant had not committed any act unbecoming of a judicial officer. Once the High Court held that the charges had not been proved against the appellant, who was a judicial officer, his honour and dignity required that he should be brought back into service.

However, since the appellant had already attained the age of superannuation he cannot be inducted back into service, the Supreme Court noted.

Court thus held, “We are of the considered view that since the appellant has not worked during all these years and this will lead to another round of litigation to decide what he was earning during this period, in lieu of awarding him back-wages, we direct that a lump-sum amount of Rs.20 lakhs be paid to the appellant. If the amount is not paid within six months, it will carry an interest of 9 percent per annum.”

–India Legal Bureau

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