A single Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court has recommended departmental action against a Chief Judicial Magistrate for violating a High Court direction in a case.
Observing that the Magistrate's action not only showed lack of understanding of Fundamental principles of law but also reflected judicial indiscipline, Justice Manoj Bajaj referred the matter to the chief justice for initiating departmental action.
"This Court has no hesitation in holding that Chief Judicial Magistrate, Yamuna Nagar has passed the impugned order by giving irrational reasons, which not only show his dearth of understanding criminal jurisprudence and fundamental principles of law, but also reflect judicial indiscipline on his part, which amounts to grave misconduct and warrants departmental action against him," Justice Bajaj observed in the order.
The controversy relates to the Chief Judicial Magistrate refusing to refund an amount of Rupees 1, 10,000 (Rupees One Lakh Ten Thousand) deposited by an accused in a case as a bail condition, despite a direction to that effect by the High Court.
Further, when the trial in the case had ended in acquittal the accused had moved the High Court seeking refund of the deposit. The High Court hereby directed the CJM to refund the same.
However, the CJM refused to allow the refund citing the appeal filed by the complainant against the acquittal. In this backdrop, the accused approached the High Court again, challenging the CJM's refusal to allow refund. While allowing this application, Justice Bajaj made the observations against the CJM.
The Court had called for an explanation from the CJM for his refusal to follow the High Court Direction. The CJM explained that he had "mistakenly refused to refund the amount as directed by this Court and regretted inconvenience caused to this court.
"The expression and reasoning contained in the impugned order do not show that the disobedience of the direction by this Court was erroneous as claimed in the explanation, therefore, the same is not worth acceptance", Justice Bajaj noted.