Suspended Faridkot additional district and sessions judge Hemant Gopal's selection to the post in 2008 has also been challenged in the high court on the ground that he had fraudulently showed his experience as a practising lawyer for seven years whereas he was a full-time lecturer at Sangrur law college.
Gopal was suspended by the high court on Monday after the preliminary inquiry on a complaint by former MLA Mangat Rai Bansal, along with a compact disc and phone call details, showing a middleman "striking a deal" for Rs 40 lakh allegedly on Gopal's behalf, when he was the Patiala special CBI judge.
A minimum of seven years' experience as practising advocate is required for applying for the post of additional district and sessions judge. Whereas, as per the petitioner, Gopal did not have seven years' experience as an advocate at the time of submission of application for the post in March 2008.
Jitender Kumar, a Jalandhar resident, had challenged the selection in the high court in February 2009. He had submitted before the high court that Gopal got himself enrolled as an advocate on August 25, 1999. After his enrolment, he joined Bhai Gurdas Institute of Law at Sangrur as full-time lecturer in 2005 at a consolidated salary of Rs 8,000 per month and remained there till September 2007.
In addition, Gopal also ran an academy at Barnala on regular basis, he claimed.
Seeking directions for setting aside Gopal's selection, the petitioner had informed the court that the Sangrur law institute's prospectus issued for the year 2005-06 mentions, "He (Hemant Gopal) has been appointed as moot courts in-charge at the college campus. The teaching of academic session along with practical training programme is the main task assigned to him."
The petitioner had alleged that Gopal had procured a fake experience certificate from the district bar association, Barnala, on December 1, 2008, that states: "During above said period, that is from January 2, 2006 to August 30, 2007, he used to practise at Barnala district courts after lunch break and on every Saturday."
The main argument raised by the petitioner while challenging Gopal's selection was that when he had worked as a regular lecturer in a college and in the evening ran an academy, it could not be presumed that he was practising in a court of law.
Being so, if the period as lecturer is deleted from the period after his enrolment as an advocate, it would be clear that at the time of submission of the application, he did not have seven years' experience as an advocate.
Complete selection challenged
Apart from Gopal's selection, the petitioner had challenged the complete selection made during the tenure of then chief justice Vijender Jain. The petitioner had alleged that he had been awarded low marks "due to legal malice so that the chosen candidates could steal a march in the selection process". The petitioner had also alleged that even marking of the answer sheets also suffered from the vice of arbitrariness.
The high court had admitted the petition for hearing with regular cases and it will now come up for hearing on September 23.
Feb 2, 2008: HC invites applications for 21 vacancies of ADJs
Jul 25, 2008: Final result declared
Feb 28, 2009: Selection challenged in HC
Sept 23, 2013: Next date of hearing in HC