Control of district, subordinate courts in Lakshadweep lies with us, says Kerala High Court

Justice P V Kunhikrishnan clarified that the UT Administration of Lakshadweep is free to frame rules in tune with Article 235, if necessary.
Kerala High Court (File photo)
Kerala High Court (File photo)

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday held that since the district court and subordinate courts in Lakshadweep are under its supervision, it has the power to initiate disciplinary proceedings against the presiding officers of the courts in the islands. 

Justice P V Kunhikrishnan clarified that the UT Administration of Lakshadweep is free to frame rules in tune with Article 235, if necessary. The court issued the order on the petition filed by K Cheriyakoya, former sub-judge/chief judicial magistrate, Amini, Lakshadweep, seeking to review the order directing the Administrator to place him under suspension pending inquiry for forging evidence placed before the court. 

The HC had found that Cheriyakoya committed serious misconduct and dereliction of duty. The review petitioner argued that the Administrator, being an executive, cannot be clothed with the powers to suspend or take action against the petitioner, who is a judicial officer, and if such an action is issued, that will militate against the principles of separation of powers and independence of the judiciary.

The court said that in the light of the decision of the Supreme Court and the Madras High Court, the “Control” of the district courts and the courts subordinate thereto including those in Lakshadweep are with the Kerala High Court. The “Control” includes taking disciplinary proceedings against the presiding officers of district courts and the courts’ subordinates thereto. 

Therefore the observation in the earlier judgment that “the disciplinary authority of the judicial officer is the Administrator, UT of Lakshadweep”, is reviewed and deleted to the effect that “the disciplinary is the High Court of Kerala”.

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