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Judiciary

'Judgment uploaded 5 months after judge demitted office,' SC calls it an act of impropriety [Read Judgment]

By Jhanak Singh      21 February, 2024 07:42 PM      0 Comments
Judgment uploaded 5 months after judge demitted office SC calls it an act of impropriety

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has underscored that justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done, as it set aside a Madras High Court order for the judge who pronounced the operative line, rendered the detailed reasonings five months after he demitted office.

Terming it as an act of "impropriety", a bench of Justices Abhay S Oka and Ujjal Bhuyan said, “We cannot support such acts of impropriety and, therefore, in our view, the only option for this court is to set aside the judgment and remit the cases to the High Court for a fresh decision."

The court was taken aback to note that the judge who delivered the order had retained the cases files for a period of five months after his retirement and a reasoned order in the case was published on the website of the high court after the elapse of this period.

Citing Lord Hewart, the bench pointed out, he had said hundred years back that ‘justice must not only be done, but must also be seen to be done’.

"What has been done in this case is contrary to what Lord Hewart said,” the bench said.

"According to us, retaining a file of a case for a period of 5 months after demitting the office is an act of gross impropriety on the part of the judge. We cannot countenance what has been done in this case," the bench said.

Upon an appeal by the CBI, the bench noted the Madras High Court had quashed a charge sheet and discharged some accused in a criminal case.

“The operative part was pronounced on April 17, 2017. There were five weeks available for the judge to release the reasoned judgment till the date on which he demitted office. However, the detailed judgment running into more than 250 pages has come out after a lapse of 5 months from the date on which the judge demitted the office,” the bench said.

The court remitted the matter to the high court to be decided afresh.

 

[Read Judgment]



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