KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court has set aside an order of compulsory retirement of a lower court judge, who faced the action for overstepping his jurisdiction.
Mintu Mallick, a railway magistrate at the Sealdah court, was first suspended in 2007 and then compulsory retired in 2013. The high court administration had handed the punishment for hauling up a train driver and a guard who were responsible for habitual delay in train services.
The high court observed the punishment was "disproportionate’’ and "shocking’’ even if the guilt was established. The court directed that the judicial officer be reinstated immediately and the appellant be considered to have been in continuous service without any break.
In 2007, Mallick was waiting at a suburban station and found that the local train was running behind its scheduled time. He learnt from commuters that the suburban train was usually late due to irrelevant reasons. On the train’s arrival, he boarded the driver’s cabin and sought to know the reasons for the regular delays. When he did not get a satisfactory answer, Mallick asked the driver and guard to report at the court in Sealdah.
Later, railway staff protested at the Sealdah station and disrupted train services for over three hours.
Subsequently, the high court ordered an inquiry and suspended Mallick. Later, he was compulsorily retired in 2013. After his appeal to the Governor was turned down, he approached a single bench of the high court which also upheld the punishment order in July 2017. He then appealed before a division bench.