The Punjab and Haryana high court has decided to compulsorily retire one judicial officer each of the Punjab as well as Haryana judicial services after finding their previous service record not befitting their further continuation in service.
These officers are Keshav Chander Gupta, additional district and sessions judge posted at Patiala district courts, and Vivek Bharti Sharma, additional district and sessions judge posted at Bhiwani.
After taking a decision in the full court meeting headed by chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and attended by all judges of the high court, a communication has been addressed to the respective state governments to retire both judicial officers prematurely. The court has already withdrawn work from these two officers.
As per the rules, the high court reviews previous service record of judicial officers of both states at three stages after they attain the age of 50, 55 and 58 years so as to weed out the dead wood for maintaining high standard of efficiency and honesty in judicial service. During this exercise, integrity of the judicial officer, his/her competency and previous annual confidential reports are ascertained.
Judges' integrity expected beyond doubt
In a latest judgment in "Rajendra Singh Verma (dead) through LRs and others vs Lieutenant Governor (NCT of Delhi) and others", the Supreme Court had said, "Judicial service is not a service in the sense of an employment as is commonly understood. Judges are discharging their functions while exercising the sovereign judicial power of the state. Their honesty and integrity is expected to be beyond doubt. It should be reflected in their overall reputation. There is no manner of doubt that the nature of judicial service is such that it cannot afford to suffer continuance in service of persons of doubtful integrity or who have lost their utility."
In another important judgment in "RC Chandel vs High Court of MP", the apex court had observed, "When a litigant enters the court room, he must feel secured that the judge before whom his matter has come, would deliver justice impartially and uninfluenced by any consideration. The standard of conduct expected of a judge is much higher than an ordinary man. This is no excuse that since the standards in society have fallen, the judges who are drawn from society cannot be expected to have high standards and ethical firmness required of a judge."