SrinagarThe Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday dismissed a plea by a man making vituperative allegations against Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar. A bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar dismissed the petition filed Abdul Gani Bhat.
Muzaffar Ahmad Khan, the Presiding Officer of the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate, Srinagar, sometime in 2011 passed certain orders in the complaint (filed by Bhat), which did not find favour to (him) and as a consequence, he has come up with petition. The contentions on their cursory examination, vituperative in nature, the court said, adding, acts of a Judicial Officer are protected by and fall under the umbrella of the Judicial Officers Protection Act, 1971 (1914 A.D.). The Act was sanctioned by His Highness the Maharaja Sahib Bahadur, which was published in Government Gazette dated 20th Magher 1971.
The court said that Section 77 of J&K Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) also provides protection to judges and it envisages that nothing was an offence, which was done by a judge when acting judicially in the exercise of any power which is, or which in good faith he believes to be, bound by law to do it.
It is, thus clear that in view of the Statutory provisions, no Court shall entertain or continue any civil or criminal proceeding against a Judge for any act, thing or word committed, done or spoken by him, when, or in the course of, acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official or judicial duty or function.
The court said that CJM by acting judicially in exercise of the power which is, or which in good faith, he believed to be given to him by law.
It is fundamental that if rule of law is to have any meaning and content, the authority of the court or a statutory authority and the confidence of the public in them should not be allowed to be shaken, diluted or undermined. The courts of justice and all tribunals, exercising judicial functions from the highest to the lowest, are by their constitution entrusted with functions directly connected with the administration of justice. It is that expectation and confidence of all those, who have or are
likely to have business in that court or tribunal, which should be maintained so that the court and tribunal perform all their functions on a higher level of rectitude without fear or favour, affection or ill-will, the court observed, adding casting defamatory aspersions upon the character, ability or integrity of the judge or judicial officer or authority undermines the dignity of the court and authority.
The protection to judges, judicial officer and authority is not personal but accorded to protect the institution of the judiciary from undermining the public confidence in the efficacy of judicial process, the court said, adding, The protection, therefore, is for fearless curial process.
Given the nature of allegations made against the Judge, the High Court said that Bhat could not have been allowed to go scot free without being made accountable for his conduct.
But since the petitioner has appeared in person may not be knowing the consequences of his act and also looking to his age (a senior citizen), I do not propose to proceed any further, the court said.
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