Published on: September 18, 2022 at 19:11 IST
The Supreme Court directs the reinstatement of a judicial officer of Bihar who was terminated citing the Dheeraj Mor vs. Delhi High Court (2020) 7 SCC 401 during his term of service.
The bench consisting of Justices B. R. Gavai and C.T. Ravikumar stated that the Dheeraj Mor judgment is not applicable in the merits of the present case.
Sunil Kumar Verma, prior to 16th September 2016, had applied for the post of Additional District and Sessions Judge in Bihar, which also happened to be the last date for the application.
On the other hand, he had also applied for the post of Civil Judge (Junior Division) in Uttar Pradesh, where he was successfully selected for the post and was appointed on the date of 16th January 2017.
After the required permission from the High Court of Allahabad, Verma participated in the selection procedure for the Bihar Superior Judicial Services conducted at the Patna High Court for the post of Additional District and Sessions Judge, post which, with due permission from Allahabad HC, he joined the Bihar Superior Judicial Service successfully from 21st August 2018.
The Dheeraj Mor Judgment –
The Supreme Court judgment, in the Dheeraj Mor case (delivered on 19th February 2020), held that a Judicial Officer, regardless of his/her previous experience as an advocate for 7 years, cannot compete for the recruitment for the post of Additional District and Session Judge in the direct recruitment quota for advocates and pleaders.
Vide the Mor judgment, the Patna HC issued Verma a show cause notice and terminated him from service.
Advocate Chandra Bhushan Prasad, appearing for Verma before the Supreme Court, contended that the case of Dheeraj Mor (supra) doesn’t apply to Verma as opposed to Advocate Gaurav Aggarwal’s contention, who appeared for the High Court.
The Court observed that Verma being a lawyer for more than 7 years, was eligible for the direct recruitment stating, “He was neither in services of the Bihar Subordinate Judicial Services Cadre on the date on which he applied and secondly, nor was he in the services of the Bihar Subordinate Judicial Officer Cadre on the date on which he was selected.”
“In that view of the matter, we find that the law laid down in the case of Dheeraj Mor (supra) is not applicable in the peculiar facts and circumstances of the present case.”
The Court also noted the fact that Verma had prior and due permissions taken from the Allahabad High Court before joining the service in Bihar.
The reinstation being ordered, Court stated that except emoluments for the discontinuation of service and the period of this case, Verma would be entitled to continue being in service for all purposes.