HC refuses to quash charges against former judge in graft case

"A judicial officer holds a sacred office and it is his duty to uphold and enforce the law. It is expected of a judicial officer to maintain impeccable integrity, because when all the doors are closed to ordinary citizens, they look up to to the judicial officer/judge for justice," Justice Ajit Bharihoke said.

The court dismissed the petition of Gulab Tulsiani, a former Special Metropolitan Magistrate, seeking quashing of framing of charges against him by a special CBI court in 2005 under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act for allegedly demanding and accepting Rs 2,000 gratification.

The judicial officer had allegedly taken the bribe from Ajesh Mittal, a Delhi resident and owner of M/s Mittal Paints and Chemical Ltd, for favouring him in a traffic rule violation case.
Justice Bharihoke rejected the plea of the former magistrate, who was discharged from service in 2005, that the sanction to prosecute him was "invalid" and "illegal".

The officer had also said that moreover, he was not in service when the second chargesheet was filed by CBI but the sanction to prosecute him was necessary as the alleged offence was committed during the discharge of function as a judge.

"I am not convinced with the submissions... The petitioner is stated to have demanded and accepted the illegal gratification.

The aforesaid act, by no stretch of imagination, can be termed as an act purported to have been done in discharge of official duty as a magistrate," the court said.

"There can be no denial that allegations against the petitioner are of grave nature, which if true, ought not to go unpunished," it said.

The court, however, allowed the plea of the former judge that the trial against him be concluded fast.

"The trial court is requested to dispose off the matter at an early date, preferably within six months from the communication of this order," it said.

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