While upholding the termination of a Judicial Officer in a writ petition, the Madras HC observed that there should not be any stigma attached to the compulsory retirement while upholding a compulsory retirement order from government retiring a judicial officer.
The Division Bench comprising of Justice R. Subbaiah and T Krishnavalli noted stating,
“…it is well settled that the order of compulsory retirement is neither a punishment nor a stigma and the principles of natural justice have no role to play in ordering compulsory retirement.”
In the present petition, the petitioner was R Naraja, a former Chief Judicial Magistrate from Tiruvannamalai. He had started his judicial career as a civil judge in 2000 post which he served at many courts due to transfers.
In 2013, he was informed of remarks recorded against him in the Annual Confidential Report which was later expunged in 2014 post following for a reconsideration of the adverse remarks recorded.
In 2018, it was brought to his knowledge fro, a Tol report that he along with two other judicial officer’s services were being terminated post a Full Court resolution to not extend their services. On asking for a reconsideration, the state government tendered a government order of a compulsory retirement whereupon, the reason for the termination was cited as ‘public interest’ on grounds of the decision of the Full Court.
The petitioner contended that passing an order of compulsory retirement was lacking essential elements and hence unsustainable. It was further argued that the Full Court had not considered all the service records before passing such a resolution. The state to this argued that the decision reached by the Full Court was on the basis of the record presented to it and was based on subjective satisfaction. It was contended that the petitioner had not met the work norms for a certain period. The resolution of the Full Court cannot be called baseless and without any material.
It was held by the court.
“In the present case, as mentioned above, there are evidences made available against the petitioner based on which the respondents have come to a conclusion to compulsory retire the petitioner from service in the form of service particulars of the petitioner like ACR, work done statement, vigilance enquiry report, leave particulars etc. While so, it cannot be gain said that there are no material at all for the respondents to arrive at a conclusion to pass the order of compulsory retirement against the petitioner.”
The court explained that if the conclusion is arrived at without evidence or irrelevant material, service cannot be interfered with by this court. However, the decision was based on records and hence the writ was dismissed with no costs.