The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed a petition by a former judge of Etawah district in Uttar Pradesh challenging an administrative order that had forced him to retire for allegedly releasing a rapist on probation.
A bench headed by Chief Justice of India, KG Balakrishnan said, "How can you release a rape accused on probation when the law does not permit you to do so?"
The bench did not relent to give relief to the retired judge even though his counsel claimed that the release order was passed on the ground that the accused was a minor at the time when the offence was committed.
Petitioner, Raj Kumar Sharma's advocate further said that the accused had already undergone the sentence prescribed in the Indian Penal Code vis-à-vis the rape offence.
The bench was, however, not keen to grant any respite because the Probation of Offender's Act does not allow an accused to walk free where the punishment for an offence is either life imprisonment or death sentence.
Sharma was asked by the Uttar Pradesh government to step down from his post in April 2005 following the recommendation of the Allahabad high court. The order came after the high court found during an inquiry that Sharma had erred in releasing a rape accused on probation in 1998.