Police verification of judges is mandatory: SC

Police verification needs to be carried out before making appointments to judiciary, directs the SC.

Updated: Jul 18, 2010, 10:14 AM IST

New Delhi: Taking a serious view of the fact that a person in the "rowdy list" was appointed as a district judge, the Supreme Court has directed all High Courts to
henceforth ensure that police verification was carried out before making appointments to the judiciary.

A Bench of Justices BS Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar also ruled that it would be mandatory for the High Courts to maintain the annual confidential reports (ACRs) of the judges to ensure transparency and also provide fair treatment to the incumbents.

"It is a matter of concern, as we are of the considered view, that timely action on behalf of the High Court would have avoided this uncalled for litigation as it would have
been a matter of great doubt whether the appellant could at all be inducted into the service in face of the admitted position that the name of the appellant was stated to be on
rowdy list at the relevant time," the Bench observed.

The apex court passed the judgement while dismissing the
appeal of Khazia Mohammed Muzammil who challenged the
Karnataka High Court`s decision to discharge him from service
as he was found "unsuitable" for the post.

Muzammil had joined the Karnataka Higher Judicial Service
on May 15, 1996 on probation. After three years in service, he
was discharged for being "unsuitable" for the post. Aggrieved,
he appealed in the apex court.

However, the apex court after pursuing the records
expressed shock at the Karnataka High Court`s decision to
appoint Muzammil on probation despite his name being in the
"rowdy list" of police. It noted that the same High Court had
earlier in 2000 refused to delete his name from the list.

According to the police record, Muzammil was General
Secretary of an organisation called Majlis-Isa-o-Tanzim and
had allegedly harboured criminals involved in serious crimes
like murder and communal riots.

There was a specific charge against him for delivering
provocative communal speeches, which allegedly contributed to
aggravating communal disturbance in Bhatkal in the year 1993.

"Normally, the person, with such antecedents, will hardly
be permitted to join service of the Government and,
particularly, the post of a judge.

"The High Court on the administrative side also appears
to have dealt with the matter in a very casual manner. It was
a matter of serious concern for the High Court as he was being
appointed as an Additional District and Sessions Judge and
would have remained as such for a number of years. It was
expected of the Government as well as the High Court to have
the character verification report before the appointment
letter was issued," the apex court observed.