Bihar Judge Says Suspended for Fast-tracking Justice, SC Notice to Patna HC, State Govt

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NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court on Friday observed that the approach of a judge, who sentenced a convict to capital punishment within four working days and decided a POCSO case and awarded life term to the convict within a working day, cannot be termed commendable.

However, the top court sought response from the Registrar General of the Patna High Court on the plea by the judge, Shashi Kant Rai, challenging his suspension.

Senior advocate Vikas Singh along with advocate Nitin Saluja, represented the judge, before a bench headed by Justice U.U. Lalit.

Singh submitted that his client, who sought seniority on the basis of a new evaluation system, received a call from the high court and he was subsequently suspended without any reason.

The bench said: “Merely because something is done in four days it does not mean that judgment has to be set aside.”

“But we cannot say such an approach is commendable,” it added.

The bench told petitioner’s counsel: “You have heard and sentenced the accused to life imprisonment in a single day. It does not happen like this,” and clarified that pendency is one issue and approach to a matter is a different issue.

Citing top court’s judgments, the bench pointed out that there are many judgments which say sentencing issues should not be done on the same day. However, counsel argued that a judge cannot be proceeded against for an erroneous judgement.

The bench recalled that a person was given death sentence in a span of nine days and the top court set aside that order and sent the matter back to the sessions court for fresh trial.

It said it will be a travesty of justice if adequate notice is not given, and also adequate opportunity not given to the person who is finally going to get the death sentence.

After hearing arguments in the matter, the top court issued notice to the Registrar General and the state government on the claim by Rai that his suspension order and the pending disciplinary proceedings against him recorded no reasons.

Rai, an Additional District and Sessions Judge in Araria, sought quashing of the non-speaking suspension order dated February 8, 2022 issued by the Patna High Court and the purported disciplinary proceedings as mentioned therein, being malicious, illegal and arbitrary. — IANS

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