Case dismissed. Reason: Unusual

One more ‘what is happening to this country’ moment. Ajit Kumar, a subordinate judge in the Jharkhand trial court, has lost his job. The inspecting judge at the High Court said in his report:

“Kumar did not prepare judgments on his own, rather he used to get them prepared through somebody else before delivering them.”

The order had been passed in 2003, but the Supreme Court upheld it only yesterday, March 11, 2011.

How did this case come to light? On a supervision tour the inspecting judge found the judgements “unusual”. Did he go through all the case papers to reach this conclusion? Does unusual figure in legal terminology and in what context? If now the judiciary is wondering about the validity of cases, what is its position regarding the judgements already passed? Are they unfair? Or unusual?

Kumar was a subordinate judge, so did his seniors not notice something amiss? I hold no brief for him and don’t even know where Garhwa, where he operated from, is. But, it took eight years to sack him. Were the cases he passed judgement on reopened?

Now comes the question of asking someone to prepare the judgements. Has any inspecting supervisor gone around checking on superior judges? Does anyone imagine they go through every little piece of argument presented and they don’t have assistants?

We know from several instances that there are many factors at play – government pressure, industrial lobby pressure, underworld pressure, and the conflict between the various commissions of inquiry that are formed. Besides, when cases are moved from certain courts or the agency handling the case is changed, it does affect the judgement. Would anyone have the courage to call the bluff of ‘unusual’ judgements in these high-powered courts and by prominent legal luminaries?

Ultimately, every judgement is ‘unusual’ if it goes against the person who is at the receiving end of a sentence.

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