The Supreme Court has taken cognisance of termination of services of six women civil judges by the Madhya Pradesh government for their unsatisfactory performance.
A bench of Justices BV Nagarathna and Sanjay Karol took note of the application of three of the six former judges addressed to the Supreme Court and decided to treat it as a writ petition.
The bench appointed advocate Gaurav Agarwal as amicus curiae to assist in the matter.
According to the office report of the case uploaded on the apex court website, the application by three former Civil Judges, class-II (Junior Division) from Madhya Pradesh State Judicial Service has been addressed to the apex court.
They said the termination happened despite the fact that quantitative assessment of their work could not done on account of Covid outbreak.
“It is further submitted that the officers along with three other female officers were appointed in Judicial Services in the state of Madhya Pradesh. They are alleged to be terminated from service primarily on account of disposal not being up to the standards set,” the office report said.
The termination orders were passed in June 2023 by the state law department after an administrative committee and a full court meeting found their performance during the probation period unsatisfactory.
According to an impleadment application filed by one of the former judges through advocate Charu Mathur, despite having an unblemished service record of four years and not having suffered any adverse remarks, she was terminated without following any due process of law.
She alleged her termination from service was a violation of her fundamental rights under Articles 14 (right to equality before law) and 21 (right to life and personal liberty) of the Constitution .
She said in her application that if the period of her maternity as well as child care leave is taken into consideration in the quantitative work assessment, it will cause grave injustice to her.
“It is a settled law that maternity and child care leave is a fundamental right of a woman and also the infant, therefore evaluation of the applicant’s performance for the probation period on the basis of the leave taken by her as part of maternity and child care is grossly violative of her fundamental rights,” the application said.