Gujarat Shining: 80 Years old judge embroiled in legal cases because of adamant attitude of Govt officials

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His name is P.N.Bavishi. His Case Number in Supreme Court is Civil Appeal 7353 of 2010. Since this is 2010 year appeal, it may take many years before its turn for hearing may come.

He is 80 Year old. Every month he phones me and ask me to see if hearing of appeal can be done during his lifetime. I explain to him that many more cases like him are pending there is nothing I can do. I am helpless. He understands my position. And says OK and puts down receiver. After one month he calls back. And he repeats same story. I give him same reply. These goes on since months. Finally, I have decided to write this case and seek help of tweeples on twitter if they can help at all.

Is this a contempt to discuss a case pending in Supreme Court?

No. Absolutely No contempt. If my intentions and actions are to influence Supreme Court then such a thing may not be good. But here I am seeking Mediation from Tweeples. Please read his case. If you see justice in his favour, please mediate for him with Gujarat Government and see if they can give justice without forcing this old judge to die without justice. Therefore I honestly believe that it is not contempt to state or discuss his case fairly on Twitter.

Is it open for Gujarat Government to take decision on this case when matter is Sub-Judice and Pending in Supreme Court?

Yes. Even in Sub-judice matter, mediation by parties is permissible. With consent of Govt and Party, suitable consent order can be obtained from Supreme Court to modify High Court Judgement. It is open and legal for Gujarat Government to examine case of this judge on merit, and if thinks fit, it can give justice to this 80 Year old judge without forcing him to a legal contest which may never take place during his life time.

What is his case? What was his fault?

His first Fault was he became judge in 1963, and his second fault was that he was serving as a honest Civil Judge in a District Court of Junagadh in Sept 1981. He did not salute senior lawyers of Bar. He never used to oblige seniors by giving them undue favourable orders. So seniors were looking for a litigant who may be used to complain against this honest judge.

His Crime

One day he took his family in a taxi for visit to a temple. Rate was fixed Rs.1 per Km. as prevailing in 1981.

The distance to be travelled was 55 Km. But taxi driver circled here and there on pretext of not knowing route, and asked for Rs.120 Km. Judge Got angry. He said you circled us wrongly to increase your meter. I will deduct that amount. I also paid for your food. After deducting, you are entitled to Rs.55 only. Driver agreed and accept Rs.55 instead of Rs.120. The matter was over.

Then a senior lawyer, who may be unhappy with judge, advised Taxi Driver to send a complaint to High Court against the Judge and complain that Judge misused his position by paying him Rs.65 less than meter.

What High Court did on receiving complaint from taxi driver?

It issued show cause notice to Judge. Judge denied everything. High Court considered this as serious misconduct. High Court asked Government to dismiss the Judge. The Judge was dismissed on 5.2.1988

What Judge did thereafter?

He made representation to High Court saying,” Look, I have served you honestly for more than 24 years without taking bribes. My crime is not so serious that I should be dismissed. Please permit me to Retire Peacefully with out social stigma of “Dismissed for Corruption”. Please accept my resignation and permit me to retire with retirement benifits”

High Court agreed. The judge was permitted to retire voluntary, and recommendation was made to Govt to pass necessary order.

Did Gujarat Government Passed order as recommended by High Court?

Yes and No. Deputy Secretary, passed an order on 9.2.88 that judge is permitted to retire voluntarily. We cancel dismissal order, But we will not give him certain retirement increments since his misconduct is serious.

Then what did the judge do?

He again went to High Court and said, you never imposed any punishment on me than how government can impose any punishment on me and withdraw my retirement benefits?

High Court agreed with Judge. On 17.11.1997, in a chamber meeting of all judges of Gujarat High Court, it was decided that this Judge should be given all retirement benefits.

Decision of Full High Court was communicated to Government.

And than what Government did?

Gujarat Government said, “Sorry. We are not bound by minutes of meeting of ALL High Court Judges. We will not give full retirement benefits to Judge.”

Then? What were options before judge? What did he do?

He filed Writ Petition in High Court. Two Judges said, Government is right in refusing retirement benefits. We cannot direct Government to pay if Govt does not want to pay” The judges gave reasons.

Then, did Judge go to Supreme Court? What did he say in Supreme Court.

Yes. He filed petition in Supreme Court and said that since Supreme Court 5 Judge Judgement reported in AIR 1972 SC 193 in category, para (f), it is decided that in matter of Premature retirement of a judge, only Judiciary has power to inflict any punishment. Government has no power to impose any punishment in premature retirements.

It means, if High Court does not to want impose punishment of refusing some retirement benefit, then Gujarat Government has no power to impose any punishment to this Judge.

Supreme Court admitted appeal and will hear it as per turn. It is possible that my client aged 80 may die before appeal is listed for hearing after some years.

What I want Tweeples to Judge? On what point they should give decisions? And what can they do?

You may decide following questions.

1) Is it right for Gujarat Government to refuse retiral benefits to Judge?

2) Can Gujarat Government take up this case as a special case and grant this 80 year old judge as an exceptional case? The questions of law can be kept open for other cases.

3) Should Supreme Court formulate some policy to take up cases of people over 80 in some Emergency Ward, where such cases can be listed out of turn for hearing?

4) Do you have any influential friends in Gujarat, who can take up this case with Government of Gujarat? If yes then please email or write to them.

Haresh Raichura

18/7/2012

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