Lawyer Loses Judgeship Due to 498-A Case Filed by Wife; Gets No Relief From SC

The case of section 498-A filed on behalf of a wife in Madhya Pradesh was so heavy that an Advocate had to pay the price by giving up the District Judge post. Inspite of getting acquitted in the 498-A case, the Lawyer could not get any relief from the Supreme Court. 

Brief Facts of Anil Bharadwaj vs High Court of M.P.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court issued an advertisement inviting applications for recruitment to the post of District Judge through Direct Recruitment from amongst the eligible Advocates. 

The appellant submitted an online application form for consideration of his candidature. The Appellant cleared both Writtern and Mains Exam

Thereafter Appellant was declared selected under Unreserved Category. He recieved a communcation from Law Department that he has to appear for medical test.

But on 02.07.2018, the department directed the Appellant to submit the copy of FIR No.852/2014 lodged under Section 498/406/34 IPC. The details of this FIR was himself disclosed by the Appellant in attestation form.

To the utter shock and dismay of the appellant, on 14.09.2018 the Legislative Department declared the appellant in-illegible. The name of Appellant was also deleted from the select list.

Feeling aggrieved the Appellant approached the High Court of Madhya Pradesh challenging the orders. However the High Court dismissed the Writ Petition

The lawyer then moved the Supreme Court but he did not get help from there either. The Supreme Court upheld the M.P. High Court’s verdict, saying that the High Court did not erred in cancelling the appointment of a lawyer to the post of District Judge. 

A bench of Hon’ble Justice Ashok Bhushan and Hon’ble Justice MR Shah held that the decision of the Exam-Selection Committee and Appointments Committee to find the appellant unfit for the post of District Judge is correct. His wife had filed a case against the appellant under Section 498A / 406/34 of IPC.

The clock cannot be rotated upside down: SC

In this case, the trial court acquitted the appellant from all charges but this argument also did not work in the Supreme Court. The bench said that criminal case was pending against the candidate at the time of selection and before the appointment. 

The clock cannot be rotated backwards. In such a situation, the decision taken by the committee within its Jurisdiction and power is fine and cannot be changed.

Further the Supreme Court said that the argument put in favor of the appellant that after one year he was acquitted of all charges, there could be no sufficient basis to turn the clock back. 

It also does not present sufficient grounds for reconsidering the appointment of the appellant to the post of Judge. 

Advocate R. Venkataramani, on behalf of the appellant’s counsel, argued in the court that the removal of the name of the appellant from the selection list has taken a stigma and the Supreme Court has to remove this stigma during the appeal hearing against the decision of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. 

Every argument of Appellant Failed

The counsel for the appellant stated that the Advocate should not lose the opportunity to become a District Judge merely on the basis that he had disclosed the pendency of the case filed against him on behalf of his wife before the Appointments Committee and in which later he was acquitted by the trial court. 

Replying to this, the bench of the Supreme Court said that since the appellant has already been acquitted of the charges on the date of 18 September 2019, the stigma of the criminal case has been washed away. There is no stigma or stain associated with the appellant anymore.

In such a case, the apprehension that this stigma will always be with the appellant is a misconception as the stain of the culprit on the accused has already been erased after the acquittal of the charges.

Case Details:

Title: Anil Bharadwaj vs High Court of M.P.

Case No.: Civil Appeal No(S).3419 Of 2020 

Coram:Hon’ble Justice Ashok Bhushan and Hon’ble Justice MR Shah

Date of Judgment: 13.10.2020

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