Magistrate & Judges Are Not Above Law, If They Commit Dereliction Of Duty, They Have To Face Consequences: Kerala HC
The Kerala High Court has observed that if Magistrate, Judges and other presiding officers commit any dereliction of duty, they have to face the consequences.
The Court noted that even if a person is occupying the post of Magistrate or Judge, the law of the land is applicable to all.
“Even if a person is occupying the post of Magistrate or Judge, the law of the land is applicable to all. If there is any dereliction of duty, the constitutional courts should step in to strengthen the trust of the people in the judiciary. The Magistrate, Judges and other presiding officers are not above the law and if they commit any dereliction of duty, they have to face the consequences.”, the bench of Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan observed.
The Court also noted that if a Judge or a Magistrate state in their proceedings that something was done, said or admitted before them, that has to be the last word on that subject but if there is personal allegation of prejudice or malafides alleged against a judicial officer and if it is found that there is some substance in such allegation, then the afore general presumption may not be applicable.
The Court made this observation while dealing with a plea in which serious allegation of forgery was alleged against K. Cheriyakoya, former Sub-Judge/Chief Judicial Magistrate, Amini Island.
Advocate Lal K.Joseph appeared for the petitioners and Advocate Sajith Kumar V appeared for the Union Territory of Lakshadweep. Advocate P. Sanjay appeared for the CJM.
It is alleged that some of the accused in a criminal case pending in that court filed a complaint before the administrative side of Kerala High Court against the conduct of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Amini, who is also acting as the Sub Judge, in the trial of their civil case.
It was alleged that aggrieved by the same, the Chief Judicial Magistrate forged the evidence of an Investigating officer and convicted the accused in the absence of the accused.
The allegation against the Chief Judicial Magistrate is that he has not recorded the evidence of a witness/PW7. Admittedly there is no signature of the said witness.
When the High Court directed the witness/PW7 to appear in person, PW7 appeared and submitted that he has not given any evidence before the Court.
The Court noted that in this case there is allegation from the petitioners/accused to the effect that there is personal enmity from the Magistrate towards the accused and hence, without examining PW7, the Magistrate created evidence.
The Court on a prima facie view held that the CJM committed serious misconduct and dereliction of duty.
“From the above discussions, I am of the prima facie opinion that the additional 3rd respondent forged the evidence of PW7 and he is liable to be proceeded as per Sec.340 of the Cr.P.C.”, the Court held.
Thus the Court directed the Administrator, UT of Lakshadweep to suspend the CJM and conduct a detailed enquiry.
“…I am directing the Administrator to place the 3rd respondent under suspension pending enquiry. Such a direction is necessary to protect the faith of the public in the system.”, the Court held.
Cause Title- Mohammed Nazer M.P v. UT of Lakshadweep & Ors. with Anr.