A petition filed by Khushalchand Varma, who was short-listed with 13 other candidates for the post of district judge, has been dismissed by the Bombay High Court.
Varma had submitted an attestation form disclosing the fact that he had been prosecuted in a criminal case in 1993, which had ended in acquittal on November 20, 2001 at Malkapur trial court.
Subsequently, a Committee of Administrative Judges of the high court, considering the antecedents of the petitioner, came to the conclusion that he was not suitable for being appointed to the post of district judge. Varma had then challenged this decision before the high court.
Varma was one of the accused tried for offence punishable under Section 326 for voluntarily causing grievous hurt by dangerous weapons.
A division bench of justice DY Chandrachud and justice Anoop Mohta, however, called for the copy of the judgement of the trial court and pointed out certain facts from the order.
The trial court had held that “the investigation carried in the present case is fairly below the mark.”The judgement further stated that the prosecution has not examined eyewitnesses though available…so when the prosecution as well as the defence is not coming out with the true version, the accused deserves to be given the benefit of doubt.
The magistrate had also observed that the true accounts of the happening are suppressed from the court.On these points the high court held that Varma was given a benefit of doubt in a situation where the magistrate came to the conclusion that the investigation was not proper.
HC also asserted the fact that “the holder of judicial office in the district judiciary has a pivotal role in maintaining the credibility of the administration of justice” and no person selected for nomination shall be appointed, unless the appointing authority is satisfied that he is of good character. “The administration of justice cannot bear the burden of a judge whose conduct is not free from an element of doubt,” the high court concluded.