Jorhat, Aug. 12: Gauhati High Court has taken punitive action against two judicial officers, including a chief judicial magistrate, for not complying with procedures relating to delivery of judgments.
The court has stopped one increment each of the chief judicial magistrate of Dhemaji district, Pranjal Bora, and the first class judicial magistrate of Golaghat district, Leena Doley, for not writing their judgments in some cases after pronouncing the rulings.
The two separate orders were passed by the court’s registrar (vigilance), Robin Phukan, on August 8.
The court’s order on Bora stated: “After consideration of the showcause reply submitted by CJM Pranjal Bora on May 29, 2013 in connection with the matter of non-writing of judgments by him in some cases in which judgments were pronounced by him…and also after consideration of the performance report of Bora, the honorable HC has been pleased to impose the punishment of stoppage of one increment with cumulative effect on him.”
The order on Leena Doley is similar to that of Bora. She had filed a reply to the court on June 21, 2013.
Sources said the court’s action indicated that it was taking serious note of the functioning of judicial officers of all subordinate courts in the districts while discharging their duties.
They said in both the cases, the high court, through surprise inspections by its vigilance teams earlier this year, had found that the two officials had pronounced some judgments in their respective courts without writing its copies. Both the officials failed to show to the team copies of judgments pronounced by them, which were shown to be delivered in the judgment register. However, copies of the said judgments were not found in court records, which meant that the judgments were yet to be written.
According to rules, a copy of the judgment has to be submitted to the court record branch on the day a judgment is pronounced by a magistrate or a judge and another should be made available to the person or the party on whom the judgment is delivered. “No judicial officer can pronounce a judgment without writing it,” a lawyer based in Jorhat said.
The sources said the punitive action was a message to the judiciary across the state that stern action would be initiated against officials not found complying to judicial rules and high court directives. They said the action could have an “adverse impact” on the careers of the two judicial officers.
The sources said all subordinate courts have to file monthly and quarterly reports to the high court on the number of cases disposed along with the judgments awarded, the number of cases pending and their categories as per the high court’s format.
The high court, after examining the returns filed by the respective lower courts, accords its observation on the performance of the judicial officers, which has an impact on their careers.