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Judge vindicated after 11 years of wait

A full bench of the Delhi High Court granted justice to a Judge, demoted to a lower cadre in September, 2001.

india Updated: Jun 04, 2006 12:36 IST

Justice can be delayed but not denied. And this time it was the turn of a Judge to realise the bitter truth of the old adage.

Eleven years, after he was demoted to a lower cadre, a Full Bench of the Delhi High Court has ordered that Judge MS Rohilla shall be deemed to have continued as a Member of the Delhi Higher Judicial Service till the date he was compulsorily retired from service on September 28, 2001.

The Bench comprising acting Chief Justice VijenderJain, AK Sikri and BN Chaturvedi also ordered that Rohilla shall be entitled to all the financial and pensionary benefits to which he may be entitled.

An erstwhile officer of the Delhi Judicial Service, Rohilla, who was holding the rank of an Additional District Judge was demoted to the rank of a civil judge by an administrative order of the High Court on February 2, 1995.

Ironically, Rohilla's representation challenging his demotion was rejected by a Full Court on September 23, 1995.

Aggrieved by the rejection, Rohilla filed a fresh petition before a Two-Member Bench which referred the matter to a Full Bench.

In his petition Rohilla argued that his promotion to the Delhi High Judicial Service on November 29, 1989 was a regular promotion against a substantive vacancy and therefore he could not have been reverted back to the Delhi Judicial service by a mere administrative order of the High Court. 

Upholding Rohilla's contention, the Bench while interpreting the provisions of Article 233 read with Article 235, maintained that any disciplinary action in the form of demotion, termination or removal by High Court is subject only to the approval of the Governor which in the present case was not observed.

Moreover, the Bench noted that the Judge was not given any opportunity of hearing before reduction in his rank. As such the order is vitiated by not observing the principles of natural justice. Hence it was ordered that Rohilla shall be deemed to have continued as a Member of the Delhi Judicial Service till he was compulsorily retired on September 2001.