SC takes exception of Practice of passing Adverse Remarks against Judicial Officers by HC in its Judgment

Recently, the Supreme Court in an Order deprecated the practice of passing adverse remarks against the Judicial Officers  by the High Court in its Judgment.

The Court was hearing an appeal filed by a Judicial Officer manning the Motor Accident Claim Tribunal, challenging the adverse remarks made against her in the Judgment of High Court.

The main thrust of argument before the Supreme Court was that she has been condemned unheard and the observations have serious consequences so far as her judicial career is concerned.

A Bench of Hon’ble Justice SK Kaul and Hon’ble Justice R Shubhah Reddy, agreed with the appellant and observed that 

We must notice at the threshold that the language used is extremely strong and the Court should be circumspect in using such language while penning down its order qua judicial officers. We really cannot appreciate the use of this language, whatever may have been the conduct of the appellant.

It was in any case open to the Division Bench, if it found that the impugned judgment of the Tribunal had grave errors which casts some doubt on the performance of the officer, to direct the matter to be taken on the administrative side in which case notice would have been issued to the appellant to explain her conduct and she would have got an opportunity to put forth her point of view and then it would have been open on the administrative side, if so advised to whether to take some action or not.

It has been categorically laid down that there cannot be an adverse remark made against a judicial officer without first giving an opportunity to the judicial officer to explain his conduct

Consequently the Court set aside the adverse remarks in the Judgment, but gave liberty to the High Court that if it really thinks that there are serious aspects arising in respect of the manner of passing of the judgment by the Tribunal, it will notpreclude the High Court on the administrative side from issuing a notice to the judicial officer and taking appropriate decision after giving her an opportunity to put forth her stand.

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