AHMEDABAD: Terming the act as “outright misconduct”, Gujarat high court on Friday upheld the dismissal of a chief metropolitan magistrate who had tried her husband’s case in her own court. Judge SV Shah, who was dismissed from service in 2009, had filed a petition in the high court.
The HC upheld the punishment given to her by Gujarat HC’s administrative division and the state government. The high court observed: “The act of conducting the cases in which her husband was an accused is mischief on part of the judicial officer. Such an act cannot be said to be a negligent act, but it is outright misconduct.”
Shah was made Ahmedabad’s chief metropolitan magistrate in August 2000 and remained till January 2002. She was suspended over charges of conducting the trial of cases in which her husband Vijay Shah, the-then managing director of Comfort Knit Wears Ltd, was an accused.
Shah faced an inquiry because instead of transferring her husband’s case to another judge, she took up the cases for hearing two weeks before they were scheduled to be heard in 2000. She ordered implication of another director in the case, undertook the process illegally, and separated her husband’s trial, according to the HC chargesheet. She imposed only a fine on her husband, while the others were punished with jail terms by another judge. She fined her husband with 50 paise for each day’s default.
The HC’s administrative side said, “She acted in the most illegal favourable manner and blatantly misused her powers.”
In 2001, the Rs 800 crore Madhavpura Mercantile Cooperative Bank (MMCB) scam surfaced. She granted default bail to two office bearers. Before the deadline for filing the chargesheet ended, she entertained the application and illegally released the two.
Besides, Shah released Ketan Parekh on bail on the simple condition of depositing a sum of over Rs 16 lakh.
Another judicial officer, DT Soni, inquired into the allegations and held her guilty in both cases—Shah’s husband’s trial and MMCB.
The HC’s administrative side heard her and recommended her dismissal. Accordingly, she was removed from judicial service in 2009, after which she had filed the petition in the HC.
Source: The Times of India