Boutique Litigation Law Firm - Retain Lawyers - Research based Law Firm - Complete legal services

An order of compulsory retirement has no civil consequences; SC.

Supreme Court of India

Justice L Nageswara Rao & Justice Deepak Gupta

The SC {ARUN KUMAR GUPTA v. STATE OF JHARKHAND & ANR.} holds that adverse entries with regard to integrity do not lose their sting at any stage.   A judicial officer’s integrity must be of a higher order and even a single aberration is not permitted.   As far as the present cases are concerned, it was held that the matter has been considered by the Screening Committee on two occasions and the recommendations of the Screening   Committee   have   been   accepted   by   the   Standing Committee on both occasions.   The action taken is not by one officer or Judge, it is a collective decision, first by the Screening Committee and then approved by the Standing Committee.

Further, held that Senior judges of the High Court who were the members of the Screening Committee and Standing Committee have taken a considered  and   well­ reasoned   decision.   Unless   there   are allegations of mala fides or the facts are so glaring that the decision of compulsory retirement is unsupportable the court would not exercise its power of judicial review. In such matters the   court   on   the   judicial   side   must   exercise   restraint   before setting aside the decision of such collective bodies comprising of senior High Court Judges. 

The SC laid down the law on compulsory retirement, which is reproduced hereinafter:

"The law on the subject of compulsory retirement, especially in the case of judicial officers may be summarised as follows:

(i) An order directing compulsory retirement of a judicial officer is not punitive in nature;

(ii) An order directing compulsory retirement of a judicial officer has no civil consequences;

(iii) While considering the case of a judicial officer for compulsory retirement the entire record of the judicial officer should be taken into consideration, though the latter and more contemporaneous record must be given more weightage;

(iv) Subsequent   promotions   do   not   mean   that earlier adverse record cannot be looked into while deciding   whether   a   judicial   officer   should   be compulsorily retired;

(v) The ‘washed off’ theory does not apply in case of   judicial   officers   specially in   respect   of   adverse entries relating to integrity;

(vi) The   courts   should   exercise   their   power   of judicial   review   with   great   circumspection   and restraint keeping in view the fact that compulsory retirement of a judicial officer is normally directed on the recommendation of a high ­powered committee(s) of the High Court."

In the present case, the writ petitions have been filed by two erstwhile judicial officers who were members of the judicial service in the State of Jharkhand against the orders whereby they have   been   compulsorily   retired. The writ petitions were dismissed by the SC.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published