Judges should have impeccable integrity: SC

They hold office in public trust and represent the state, says apex court

The Supreme Court said here on Saturday that judges should be people of impeccable integrity and any indiscreet act on their part “cannot be tolerated.” 

A bench of justices R M Lodha and A R Dave noted that judicial service no “ordinary government service as judges hold the office in public trust and represent the state.”The apex court upheld an order by a division bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court to compulsorily retire a district and sessions judge. 

The judge in question, R C Chandel, during his tenure as the district judge in Rewa, had requested R K Malviya, MP and erstwhile chairman of the House Committee, Rajya Sabha, to expunge certain adverse remarks from his annual confidential report. 

Malviya had subsequently written to the erstwhile minister of state for Law, H R Bhardwaj.Chandel was relieved from service on September 13, 2004, by the Madhya Pradesh government on the state high court’s request.    

“The standard of conduct expected of a judge is much higher than an ordinary man. This is no excuse that since the standards in society have fallen. The judges who are drawn from society cannot be expected to have high standards and ethical firmness required of a judge. A judge, like Caesar’s wife, must be above suspicion,” the bench said.

The bench described Chandel’s attempt to manipulate official records as “most shocking and unbecoming conduct.”

“His conduct has tarnished the image of the judiciary and he disentitled himself from continuation in judicial service on that count alone. A judge is expected not to be influenced by any external pressure and he is also supposed not to exert any influence on others in any administrative or judicial matter,” justice Lodha observed.

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