The Bombay high court has refused to grant relief to a lower court judge who was compulsorily retired from service by a review committee recently after she attained the age of 56 years.
Dismissing the petition filed by Shraddha Vinod Deo against her compulsory retirement, the division bench of justices Naresh Patil and BP Colabawalla noted that the committee took the decision "in public interest".
The review committee comprised chief justice of the HC and a few other senior judges.
"We do not find that the petitioner has made out any case for reconsideration of the decision," the bench said.
Judicial service is not an ordinary government service and the judges are not employees as such, as the office they hold is an office of public trust, the high court said.
"After consideration of the service record and the material placed before the review committee, the decision was taken to retire the petitioner prematurely," court noted, adding that "this decision was taken in public interest".
Deo was appointed as a judicial magistrate in 1990. She served in Mumbai as judge of the industrial court, member of Motor Accidents Claims Tribunal, member of family court, and later as an additional judge of Small Causes Court. Her petition claimed that her annual confidential reports had rated her as 'good' and 'very good', and her integrity was found to be good on the basis of ACRs.
Deo had also worked as paper-setter for MPSC (state service) examinations, the petition noted, adding that she had never even faced any departmental inquiry.
However, the state's lawyer argued that she can not claim any right to continuation of service beyond the age of 55, and she would be getting all the service benefits in any case.