The Bombay High Court has dismissed the petition of a temporary judge, who was assigned cases pertaining to the multi-crore National Spot Exchange Ltd (NSEL) scam, seeking quashing of a Maharashtra government’s order that had terminated his services.
A division bench of Justices S S Shinde and N B Suryawanshi dismissed the petition filed by the judge Ajay Dinode challenging the order dated June 23, 2017 discharging him from the service and “creating disqualification from future employment”.
The bench noted that the impugned order was passed by the government after taking into consideration the overall performance, conduct and the suitability of the petitioner for the job.
Dinode was appointed as a district judge on August 26, 2014 and was posted at Akola in east Maharashtra.
He was transferred time and again before being conferred with the powers of an additional sessions judge in 2015.
Dinode was then appointed as the special judge for speedy and expeditious trial for the matters relating to the NSEL scam.
In his plea, Dinode stated thatthe appointing authority–the state government- has mechanically followed the recommendations of the high court while discharging him from the service.
He further claimed that since the termination order was stigmatic, the same cannot be sustained in absence of any inquiry conducted by the high court.
In its order passed on January 30, the bench noted that Dinode’s appointment letter clearly states that it was a temporary appointment that can be terminated without assigning any reason.
It further noted that Dinode was terminated from service when he was on probation.
The court also noted that the state government’s order is of simply terminating the petitioner’s services and it cannot be termed as stigmatic or punitive.
“We are of the view that the impugned order was passed taking into consideration the overall performance, conduct and the suitability of the petitioner for the job,” the bench stated.
While taking such a decision, neither notice is required to be given to the petitioner nor opportunity of being heard is required to be given, the judges noted.
“The termination cannot be termed as removal for any misconduct or on the ground of indiscipline. While judging performance of the petitioner’s overall suitability, performance record, so also reports from higher authorities were called and were looked into before arriving at the decision of discharging the petitioner from service,” the order said.
The HC further said the order of termination and discharge from services was passed by the state government after the administrative committee of the HC had considered all relevant material and formed an opinion that Dinode was not suitable for the post.