AUGUST 8, 2010
In the High Court of Judicature at Madras
The Honourable Mr.Justice ELIPE DHARMA RAO
The Honourable Mr.Justice K.K.SASIDHARAN
WRIT PETITION NO.15983 OF 2007
R. Kalarani … Petitioner
1. Madras High Court
rep.by its Registrar General
2. The State of Tamil Nadu
rep.by the Secretary to Government
Chennai-60 009. … Respondents
Writ Petition filed under Article 226 of the Constitution of India praying to issue a writ of Certiorarified Mandamus calling for the records relating to G.O.(D).No.280 Home (Cts.IA) Department dated 2.3.2007 passed by the second respondent, quash the same and direct the respondents to reinstate the petitioner in service with all consequential benefits, including arrears of pay and allowances.
For Petitioner .. Mr.AR.L.Sundaresan
for M/s.P.V.S.Giridhar Associates.
For Respondents .. Mr.A.Jenasenan
O R D E R
ELIPE DHARMA RAO, J
The petitioner challenges the proceedings of the second respondent dated 2 March, 2007 whereby and whereunder she was dismissed from service.
2. In the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition, the petitioner would contend thus:-
(i) The petitioner was appointed as a Civil Judge (Junior Division)/Judicial Magistrate I Class as per proceedings in G.O.Ms.No.1517 dated 16.11.1999. After initial training as District Munsif, she was posted as Judicial Magistrate I Class at Dindigul.
(ii) While she was functioning as Judicial Magistrate, Dindigul, a criminal case for dowry harassment and related offences was filed by one Sundareswari in Crime No.19/1999 before All Women Police Station, Dindigul. After investigation, a charge sheet was laid against the accused before the Judicial Magistrate Court at Dindigul. The case was taken on file in C.C.No.97 of 2000. After elaborate trial, the accused was acquitted as per judgment dated 9.1.2001. The judgment was partly confirmed by the High Court.
(iii) While acquitting the accused, the petitioner passed strictures against the police officers for filing a false case. As a result, the police, the Assistant Public Prosecutor and the father of the complainant were inimically disposed of towards the petitioner. Therefore they preferred a false complaint alleging that the petitioner has demanded bribe of Rs.20,000/- from the father of the complainant for convicting the accused. The complaint was preferred on 21 February, 2001. However, after three months, the complainant Marimuthu changed the story and he has come up with a story that the petitioner has demanded bribe of Rs.2,00,000/-.
(iv) The petitioner was placed under suspension by order dated 29 November, 2001. She was served with a charge memo on 21 March, 2003 enumerating eight charges, which reads thus:-
That you Tmt.R. Kalarani, Civil Judge (Junior Division)/J.M.F.C. now under suspension, while functioning as Judicial Magistrate No.I, Dindigul had applied for Casual Leave for one day on 22.5.2000 and permission to avail the Holidays on 20.5.2000 and 21.5.2000 to go to Madurai for personal reasons, but proceeded to Kodaikanal with family members thus you had deliberately and wantonly suppressed the facts of proceeding to Kodaikanal with ulterior motive and thereby committed the acts of dereliction of duty, suppressing the facts and giving false information to the superiors, misuse of power and abuse of power and conduct unbecoming of a Judicial Officer and thereby rendered yourself liable to be punishable under the Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules;
That you Tmt.R. Kalarani, Civil Judge (Junior Division)/J.M.F.C. now under suspension, while functioning as Judicial Magistrate No.I, Dindigul during the course of the trial in C.C.No.97/00 on the file of the said court demanded from Thiru B.V.R.Marimuthu one of the witnesses in the said case to hire a car for you, to proceed to Kodaikanal; that you, your family members along with the said Thiru B.V.R.Marimuthu travelled in that hired car bearing Registration No.T.N.V.2757 to Kodaikanal on 20.5.2000; that you stayed at Kodaikanal in"Valley View" Hotel, arranged by the said Thiru Marimuthu from 20.5.2000 to 22.5.2000 , that you along with your family members and the said Thiru Marimuthu met Thiru Kurian Abraham, then Chairman Kodaikanal Municipality at his residence on 20.5.2000, in connection with the said C.C.97/2000, discussed with them about the case; that you with your family members, Thiru Marimuthu and Thiru Kurian Abraham took various photographs at his residence, took tiffin along with them and thus mingled with the litigants of the case, which you ought not to have done, thereby indulged in corrupt practices and committed the acts of misuse of power, abuse of power, failure to maintain the dignity and decorum expected from a Judicial Officer and conduct unbecoming of the Judicial Officer and thus rendered yourself liable to be punished under the Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules.
That you Tmt.R. Kalarani, Civil Judge (Junior Division)/J.M.F.C. now under suspension, while functioning as Judicial Magistrate No.I, Dindigul, while conducting the trial in C.C.No.97/2000 on the file of the said Court, demanded a sum of Rs.20,000/- from Thiru B.V.R.Marimuthu father of the complainant Tmt.Sundareswari in the said C.C. and one of the witnesses in the said case for convicting the accused; that you received a sum of Rs.10,000/- from the said Thiru B.V.R. Marimuthu on 21.5.2000 at Kodaikanal in the presence of Thiru Kurian Abraham, Chairman, Kodaikanal Municipality thus indulged in corruption and corrupt practices and committed the acts of abuse of power, misuse of power and conduct unbecoming of a government servant and thereby rendered yourself liable to be punished under the Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules.
That you Tmt.R. Kalarani, Civil Judge (Junior Division)/J.M.F.C. now under suspension, while functioning as Judicial Magistrate No.I, Dindigul during the course of the trial in C.C.No.97/00 demanded from Thiru B.V.R. Marimuthu, father of the complainant Tmt.sundareswari in the said C.C and one of the witnesses in the said case to make a Judges Chair for you, that the said Thiru Marimuthu had spent a sum of Rs.5,000/- and made the chair, as demanded by you and handed over it to you; that you received the said Chair and did not pay any amount for making the said Chair, that you were using the same in the Court thus indulged in corruption and corrupt practices and committed the acts of misuse of power, abuse of power and conduct unbecoming of a government servant and thereby rendered yourself liable to be punished under the Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules.
That you Tmt.R. Kalarani, Civil Judge (Junior Division)/J.M.F.C. now under suspension, while functioning as Judicial Magistrate No.I, Dindigul during the course of trial in C.C.No.97/00 on the file of the said court, contacted Thiru B.V.R. Marimuthu, the father of the complainant in C.C.No.97/2000 and one of the witnesses in the said case, to come to your residence; that when he came to your residence on 1.1.2001 at 10.00 a.m. you demanded from him a sum of Rs.2,00,000/- for convicting the accused; that when he refused to the demanded amount, you on 9.1.2001 acquitted all the accused in the said CC as he did not pay the demand amount thus committed the acts of corruption and corrupt practices, abuse of power, misuse of power and conduct unbecoming of a government servant and thereby rendered yourself liable to be punished under the Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules.
That you Tmt.R. Kalarani, Civil Judge (Junior Division)/J.M.F.C. now under suspension, while functioning as Judicial Magistrate No.I, Dindigul had fixed an A.C.Plant in the first floor of your quarters, altering the structure of the quarters without obtaining the prior permission from the Principal District Judge, Dindigul as required; that you had not given the particulars relating thereto in the asset and liability statement submitted by you to the High Court and thereby violated the provisions of the Government Servants, Conduct Rules and Committed the acts of dereliction of duty, suppressing and conduct unbecoming of a government servant and thereby rendered yourself liable to be punished under the Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules.
That you Tmt.R. Kalarani, Civil Judge (Junior Division)/J.M.F.C. now under suspension, while functioning as Judicial Magistrate No.I, Dindigul in C.C.No.370/06 on the file of the said court, levied a fine of Rs.100/- in C.M.P.No.708/2000 against the accused for contempt of Court; that the said amount was ordered to be paid to the Legal Aid Authority at Dindigul, that the fine amount of Rs.100/- was collected and the receipt issued; that on verification the said amount was neither entered into the fine Register nor committed to the Government Account either on the said day or on the next day, thereby committed the acts of mis-appropriating the said amount, dereliction of duty, negligence and failed to maintain proper account in accordance to rules and thereby rendered yourself liable to be punished under the Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules.
That you Tmt.R. Kalarani, Civil Judge (Junior Division)/J.M.F.C. now under suspension, while functioning as Judicial Magistrate No.I, Dindigul during the course of hearing in C.C.No.165/2000 when the A.P.P.II attached to the said court was on Medical Leave and the incharge A.P.P had not appeared before you on the said day, that you had recorded in the notes paper unilaterally treating P.Ws.1 to 3 as hostile witnesses without the endorsement of the A.P.P.II or in charge A.P.P concerned and thus committed the acts of dereliction of duty, negligence, violation of court procedure and falsification of Court records and conduct unbecoming of a Judicial Officer and thereby rendered yourself liable to be punished under the Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules."
(v) The petitioner submitted her explanation on 5 May, 2003 denying the charges. She also produced as many as seventeen documents as annexures, to show the falsity of the case pleaded by the complainant. However, her explanation was not accepted and as such an enquiry was ordered into the charges. The enquiry commenced on 25 June, 2005. The Enquiry Officer conducted the enquiry in a hasty and prejudiced manner. Ultimately, the Enquiry Officer reported that the petitioner was guilty of all the charges. After the enquiry report dated 14 October, 2005, the petitioner was given an opportunity to submit a further representation. Accordingly, the petitioner submitted her representation, pointing out the infirmities in the enquiry and in the findings of the Enquriy Officer. However without a fair and objective consideration of the explanation and ignoring her defence totally, an order of removal was passed on 2 March, 2007. Feeling aggrieved, the petitioner has filed this writ petition.
3. The first respondent has filed a counter in answer to the contentions raised in the writ petition. The material contentions read thus:-
(i) There were series of complaints of corruption against the petitioner in the year 2001 and the complaints were referred to the Vigilance Cell of the High Court. The Vigilance Cell, after enquiry, submitted a report, based on which, charges were framed against the petitioner under Rule 17(b) of the Tamil Nadu Civil Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules. The Principal District Judge, Tirunelveli was appointed as the enquiry officer to enquire into the charges. Subsequently, the Principal District Judge, Dindigul was appointed as the Enquiry Ofifcer. A detailed enquiry was conducted by the Enquiry Officer duly complying with the principles of natural justice and he held, charges 2 to 6 and 8 as proved and charge No.7 as partly proved.
(ii) The findings of the Enquiry Officer were placed before the Administrative Committee and the Committee, at its meeting held on 4 April, 2006, resolved to accept the findings of the Enquiry Officer and directed to furnish a copy of the findings to the petitioner for further representation.
(iii) The representation received from the petitioner was placed before the Administrative committee on 8 August, 2006 and thereafter, before the Full Court, by circulation. The Full Court, after considering the findings of the Enquiry Officer and the reply submitted by the petitioner, resolved to accept the findings of the Enquiry Officer and it was further resolved to remove the petitioner from service. Accordingly, the Government was addressed for issuing orders, imposing the penalty of removal from service on the officer. Accordingly, the impugned order was passed.
4. The learned Senior Counsel for the petitioner made extensive submissions in the light of the evidence adduced before the Enquiry Officer as well as his report. The principal contentions read thus:-
(a) The complainant Marimuthu in his original complaint stated that the petitioner demanded a sum of Rs.20,000/-. However, subsequently, he changed his version and alleged that there was a demand for a sum of Rs.2,00,000/-. Therefore, the evidence of such untrustworthy and an interested witness cannot be believed.
(b) The complaint was preferred only after delivery of the judgment in C.C.No.97 of 2000. The complainant was aggrieved by the acquittal of the accused. It was not a bonafide complaint, as it was made with a view to tarnish the image of the Judicial Officer and to wreak vengeance against her.
(c) The petitioner, though initially informed the officers that she was proceeding to Madurai, subsequently informed the Court staff over phone that her journey was only to Kodaikanal. She stayed only in a private hotel. Therefore, there was nothing wrong in changing the destination and, as such, the charge relating to her journey to Kodaikanal has no basis.
(d) The petitioner has no acquaintance with the complainant Marimuthu. Therefore, it cannot be said that she was in the company of the witness, though in the photograph taken from the premises, he was also present.
(e) P.W.2 Kurian Abraham, in his evidence before the Enquiry Officer, submitted that he has not seen the actual acceptance of money by the petitioner. According to him, only a cover was given to the petitioner by the complainant. However, the complainant in his evidence as well as in the complaint submitted that the amount was paid to the petitioner in the presence of P.W.2. Therefore, no credence could be attached to the evidence of such witness, whose evidence is full of contradictions.
(f) P.W.2 – Kurian Abraham was not a man of good character as he was involved in land grabbing and other offences. Therefore, the evidence of such a person must be ignored.
(g) Though there were other complaints also preferred against the petitioner, all those complaints were found to be false later and the complainants' named therein informed the Enquiry Officer that they have not made any such complaints. Therefore, there was a conscious attempt to implicate the petitioner in false charges.
5. In reply, the learned counsel for the first respondent would contend thus:
(a) The receipt of money by the petitioner was proved through the evidence of P.W.1 – Marimuthu and P.W.2 – Kurian Abraham.
(b) The photographs taken on 21.5.2000 would clearly prove the presence of the petitioner along with the complainant and therefore, the petitioner cannot be heard to say that she was not aware of the complainant, who was very much present in the residence of P.W.2 on the date of her visit.
(c) The petitioner has also made the complainant to procure a chair and the same was proved through the evidence of one S.M.Pandi P.W.5. Therefore there were clinching evidence against the petitioner which only made the Enquiry Officer to hold all the charges proved.
6. The petitioner was functioning as Judicial Magistrate I Class at Dindigul. A case in C.C.No.97 of 2000 was pending on her file. P.W.1 -Marimuthu and her daughter Sundareswari/the de-facto complainant were examined on 17.5.2001. Therefore, the petitioner cannot be heard to say that she has not seen the complainant Marimuthu before.
7. The petitioner left the Headquarters on the premise that she was proceeding to Madurai. However, she changed her programme and proceeded to Kodaikanal on 20.5.2000. Admittedly, on 21.5.2000 she was found in the residence of P.W.2 Thiru Kurian Abraham. P.W.1- Marimuthu was also there along with him. Various photographs taken from the bungalow of P.W.2 would clearly show the presence of P.W.1 along with the petitioner.
8. It is true that the complainant has stated that money was paid in the presence of P.W.2. When P.W.2 was examined as a witness, he has, very categorically, stated that while the petitioner was sitting in the hall of his house, P.W.1 Marimuthu had given a cover to her and he did not know as to what was there in the cover. It was also his evidence that both of them spoke for sometime and thereafter Marimuthu told him that he had given Rs.10,000/- to the Magistrate. Even though P.W.2 was cross examined at length, he consistently took the stand that a cover was given to the petitioner in his presence. We do not find any reason to disbelieve the evidence of P.W.2. Even according to the petitioner, P.W.2 has no animosity towards her. Though an attempt was made to show as if there were criminal cases pending against P.W.2, subsequently, it was brought out that those cases ended in his favour, holding him not guilty of the charges levelled against him. Merely because there were criminal cases against P.W.2 earlier, it cannot be said that his evidence has to be rejected in toto. The evidence of P.W.2 has to be considered in the light of the photographs taken from his bungalow. Those photographs give a clear indication that the petitioner was in the company of P.Ws.1 and 2. The Assistant Public Prosecutor was also present along with the petitioner on 21.5.2000 in the bungalow of P.W.2. The photographs would clearly show that the witness Marimuthu was talking to the petitioner as well as to her husband. Thus, the presence of the petitioner along with P.W.2 is beyond dispute. The petitioner being a Judicial Officer has no business to go to a private residence and to remain there in the company of the father of the complainant, whose case was pending before her.
9. It is true that P.W.1 has improved his case subsequently. Originally it was his case that the demand was for a sum of Rs.20,000/-. Subsequently he had changed his version and projected as if the petitioner demanded a sum of Rs.2,00,000/-. The change of the version, subsequently, cannot be taken to disbelieve the evidence given by P.W.1 in its entirety. Things would have been different in case the petitioner was not found in the company of P.W.1. She was found at Kodaikanal with P.W.1. The photographs speak volumes themselves. The strict principles of the Evidence Act, requiring proof beyond reasonable doubts, have no application to the disciplinary proceeding and what is required is the preponderance of probability.
10. From what has been discussed supra, it is clear that there were clinching evidence against the petitioner in respect of the charges relating to receipt of illegal gratification by her from the father of the de-facto complainant in a criminal case. Therefore, we hold that the findings recorded by the Enquiry Officer, pertaining to charges 1 to 3, were supported by sufficient evidence.
11. The fourth charge relates to procurement of a chair by the petitioner through P.W.1 at the cost of Rs.5,000/-. The evidence of P.W.5 Pandi, who made a chair as well as the evidence of P.W.6 Sivakumar gives a clear indication that the chair was ordered by P.W.1 at the instance of the petitioner. It was the evidence of P.W.5 that the amount was paid only by P.W.1 and the chair was delivered in the residence of the petitioner.
12. Though P.W.5 was cross examined by the petitioner, his evidence with respect to making the chair and delivery of the same to the petitioner remain unchallenged. Therefore charge No.4 was also proved.
13. Since the finding in respect of charges 1 to 4 are sufficient for arriving at an irresistible conclusion that the petitioner was involved in acts of corruption, which is unbecoming on the part of a Judicial Officer, there is no necessity to look into the other charges, as it will not at all tilt the balance in favour of the petitioner.
14. The learned Senior Counsel placed reliance on the following judgments.
(i) AIR 1988 SC 1395 (Ishwar Chand Jain v. High Court of Punjab and another).
(ii) 2007 (4) SCC 247 (Ramesh Chander Singh v. High Court of Allahabad and another).
(iii) 1993(2) SCC 49 (UOI & another v. R.K.Desai)
(iv) 2001(6) SCC 491 (P.C. Joshi v. State of UP & Others)
(v) 1998(5) SCC 493 (R.C.Sood v. High Court of Rajasthan & Others)
(vi) 1999 (7) SCC 409 (Zunjarrao Bhikaji Nagarkar v. UOI & Others)
(vii) 2004(3) Law Weekly 230 (S. Thirupathy v. State of Tamil Nadu and another)
(i) In Iswar Chand case (AIR 1988 SC 1395), an anonymous complaint was received against the Judicial Officer. In the said case, there were certain mistakes committed by the judicial officer in the initial stage of his service and it was found that orders were passed without there being any corrupt motive. It was only in such circumstances, the Supreme Court observed that if judicial officers are under constant threat of complaint and enquiry on trifling matters and if High Court encourages anonymous complaints to hold the field, the subordinate judiciary will not be able to administer justice in an independent and honest manner.
(ii) In Ramesh Chander Singh case (2007(4) SCC 247), again it was for initiating action against the judicial officer on the basis of the judicial order passed by him. The Supreme Court held that for initiation of such proceedings, there should be strong grounds to suspect the officer's bona fides and the order itself should be actuated by malice, bias or illegality.
(iii) In R.K.Desai's case (1993(2) SCC 49), the misconduct was one relating to the decision taken by an officer in exercise of judicial/quasi-judicial function. The Supreme Court held that no disciplinary action would lie even though the decision was palpably erroneous.
(iv) In P.C.Joshi case (2001(6) SCC 491), the District Judge incharge granted stay of disconnection of telephone for non-payment in a consumer dispute case filed by a Senior Government doctor. When disciplinary proceedings were taken against him, the Supreme Court observed that it was a case of bona fide and erroneous exercise of judicial powers and such matters cannot be treated as misconduct at all.
(v) In Zuniarrao Bhikaji Nagarkar case (1999(7)SCC 409), the delinquent was the Collector of Central Excise. The basis for initiating action against him was the order passed by him in a proceeding which arose under the Central Excise Act. Since it was only an error of judgment, the Supreme Court observed that if every error of law were to constitute a charge of misconduct, it would impinge upon the independent functioning of quasi-judicial officers like the delinquent. The Supreme Court was of the view that it was not possible to take departmental proceedings on the sole ground that the delinquent committed an error of law.
(vi) In S.Thirupathy case (2004(3) Law Weekly 230), the charge against the Judicial Officer was regarding alteration of the compensation amount from Rs.67,000/- to Rs.50,000/- and replacement of certain pages in the common order by typing in separate sheets. The other charge relates to acceptance of bribe from an accused in a sessions case and the subsequent conviction on account of refusal of the accused to pay the bribe amount. When it was found that the complaint originated only from the accused and that too, after pronouncing the judgment of conviction against him, the Division Bench observed that more should be the care and caution when a litigant before the Subordinate Judge himself is the complainant and who had an axe to grind, having suffered an adverse judgment.
15. The precedents relied on by the learned Senior Counsel has absolutely no relevance to the facts on hand. Those were all cases where an error of law, committed by the Officer in his function as a judicial officer/quasi judicial authority, were taken as basis for initiation of departmental proceedings. The judgment of the Division Bench in Thirupathy case stands on a totally different footing. In the said case, the accused himself preferred a complaint against the learned District Judge and there were no other materials to connect the District Judge with the alleged misconduct.
16. The facts of the present case are entirely different. The petitioner was well aware of the proceedings in C.C.No.97 of 2000 pending on her file. P.W.1, who is none other than the father of the complainant was examined on 17.5.2001. The complainant was also present on that day for examination. The petitioner applied for one day casual leave on 22.5.2000 and sought permission to avail the holidays on 20.5.2000 and 21.5.2000 and also to leave the headquarters on the evening of 19.5.2000 after completing her regular work. While leaving the Headquarters it was represented that she was going to Madurai. However, she proceeded to Kodaikanal on 20.5.2000. According to P.W.4 she took the petitioner, her husband and her child in the car bearing Registration No.TNT-2757 and they reached Kodaikanal in the evening. She was taken to the residence of P.W.2 on 21.5.2000. The presence of the petitioner along with P.Ws.1,2 and 7 got proved through the photographs marked as Exs.P.2 to P.4. The charge of acceptance of bribe was proved through the evidence of P.Ws.1 and 2. The charge with respect to the procurement of a chair at the cost of P.W.1 was proved through the evidence of P.Ws.5 and 6. Therefore, there are materials undoubtedly pinpointing the involvement of the petitioner in the act of collecting illegal gratification.
17. The petitioner was a member of the lower judiciary. The lower judiciary is the back bone of the judicial system. Any shake in the foundation of the said system would affect the very judicial structure and people would lose faith in the system. The public expects a clean and efficient judiciary committed to the cause of justice. Judicial Officers commands respect from the public. Their public life has a direct bearing on their judicial work. The judiciary is the last resort of the people and in case the judicial officers are also tempted to accept illegal gratification for discharging the judicial functions, the very system would crumble on its own weight.
18. There is no dispute that the High Court should protect the judicial officers from unnecessary attacks on their integrity without any materials or in matters wherein they have acted purely within the parameters of law. There is a corresponding responsibility and duty cast on the High Court to weed out the corrupt elements from the judiciary. The acts of misconduct of a microscope minority in the judicial service would tarnish the image of the entire judiciary. In any case, the High Court, exercising control over the judiciary, is equally bound to preserve the confidence of the people in the justice delivery system.
19. In NAWAL SINGH v. STATE OF U.P. (2003(8) SCC 117), the Supreme Court observed that judiciary stands on a different footing and no other service could be compared with the judicial service. The observation reads thus:
"At the outset, it is to be reiterated that the judicial service is not a service in the sense of an employment. Judges are discharging their functions while exercising the sovereign judicial power of the State. Their honesty and integrity is expected to be beyond doubt. It should be reflected in their overall reputation. Further, the nature of judicial service is such that it cannot afford to suffer continuance in service of persons of doubtful integrity or who have lost their utility."
20. The case of a Judicial Officer, like the petitioner, cannot be decided on the principles applicable to a regular departmental proceedings. Even for regular departmental proceedings, as has been observed supra, strict rules of evidence are not applicable. Normally, it is not possible to prove the corrupt charges by way of positive evidence. In matters regarding disciplinary proceedings against the judicial officers, adherence to strict and sophisticated rules of evidence are not necessary. In case the materials produced before the enquiry officer give an indication that there are materials pointing out the improper conduct of the judicial officer, there was no other option than to give a positive finding against the delinquent. Sufficiency of evidence to prove the findings, in matters like this, are beyond scrutiny. If there is some evidence which connects the delinquent with the charges, it is sufficient to take action against the judicial officer. Therefore, in matters relating to charges of corruption, strict view has to be taken. However, there cannot be any doubt that the Judicial Officer, should be protected from the motivated complaints being lodged against them by unscrupulous elements and the persons with vested interest and doubtful integrity.
21. The evidence adduced before the enquiry officer, if viewed in the light of the photographs marked as Exs.P.2 to P.4, would conclusively prove charges 1 to 5 framed against the petitioner. The finding record ed by the Enquiry Officer in respect of those charges would be sufficient to impose the punishment of dismissal from service. All these aspects have been considered in their proper perspective by the Enquiry Officer and also by the Disciplinary Authority.
22. Therefore, we are of the view that no interference is called for in the order impugned in this writ petition.
23. In the result, the writ petition is dismissed. No costs.
1. Madras High Court
rep.by its Registrar General
2. The State of Tamil Nadu
rep.by the Secretary to Government
ELIPE DHARMA RAO,J
PRE-DELIVERY ORDER IN
W.P.No.15983 OF 2007
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