Court refuses to quash charge memo issued to District Judge Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy held that it would not be appropriate to disable the High Court administration from proceeding with the inquiry since the alleged misconduct, if proved to be true, would entail serious consequences leading to imposition of a major punishment on the suspended district judge.Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy held that it would not be appropriate to disable the High Court administration from proceeding with the inquiry since the alleged misconduct, if proved to be true, would entail serious consequences leading to imposition of a major punishment on the suspended district judge.

NEWS STATES TAMIL NADU
TAMIL NADU
Court refuses to quash charge memo issued to District Judge
Legal Correspondent
CHENNAI 27 AUGUST 2020 01:09 IST
UPDATED: 27 AUGUST 2020 01:09 IST

He will have to prove his innocence only during inquiry: HC
The Madras High Court has refused to quash a charge memo issued to a District Judge (now under suspension) after suspecting foul play in his 2016 judicial order to reinstate a dismissed workman of a private firm. It observed that only a detailed inquiry will prove whether his act was a judicial misconduct or a mere error in judgment.

Chief Justice Amreshwar Pratap Sahi and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy held that it would not be appropriate to disable the High Court administration from proceeding with the inquiry since the alleged misconduct, if proved to be true, would entail serious consequences leading to imposition of a major punishment on the suspended district judge.

“We find this to be a premature stage for the petitioner to raise a plea with regard to any infirmity in the initiation of the disciplinary proceedings or the issuance of the charge memo to which a reply can be given by him explaining his stand. We do not find any procedural error substantial enough so as to warrant interference at this stage,” the judges said.

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It was on June 28, 2016 that the petitioner, while presiding over the first Additional Labour Court in Chennai, had passed an order to reinstate a dismissed workman with continuity of service and 25% of back wages. The management challenged the Labour Court’s order by way of a writ petition before the High Court and pointed out several deficiencies.

On perusing the case bundle, a single judge of the High Court found that the Labour Court had drawn an adverse inference after mentioning in its order that the management had failed to submit the proceedings of the inquiry conducted by it though the workman himself had submitted in court a photocopy of the entire proceedings running to 105 pages.

“The Labour Court would have no occasion to lose sight of the voluminous inquiry report. Therefore, this court has got every reason to believe that the learned judge for some other unknown reason has given such a finding… The matter is directed to be placed before the administrative side of this court to take departmental action against the said officer,” the single judge ordered.

Though the Labour Court judge made a plea in 2017 to expunge the remarks made against him in the October 2016 order, the single judge refused. However, when he took the order on appeal, a Division Bench of the High Court, on February 19 this year, expunged the remarks on the ground that they had been made without hearing the Labour Court judge.

The Division Bench left it open to the High Court administration to take an appropriate decision on the issue without being influenced by the single judge’s order and the court administration, in turn, suspended the District Judge from service on March 11 and issued the charge memo, that had been challenged now, on June 26

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