The present criminal revision stands dismissed by HIGH COURT OF MADHYA PRADESH AT INDORE in the case of DEEPALI JADHAV V. THE STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH through HON’BLE JUSTICE VIJAY KUMAR SHUKLA
FACTS OF THE CASE
The facts of the case are that one Nathulal S/o Rugga Ji Balai (hereinafter, the borrower) had taken a loan of Rs.4.95 lakhs for purchasing a tractor against his agricultural land at Village-Bhamora, District – Ujjain (MP) bearing survey no.216 admeasuring 5.92 hectare from Punjab National Bank, Branch Kanthal, Ujjain (hereinafter, the lending bank) in the year 2004. The said borrower was unable to repay the loan amount and hence the lending bank on account of non-payment initiated proceeding under the Madhya Pradesh Lok Dhan (Shodhya Rashiyon Ki Vasuli) Adhiniyam, 1987. Since the borrower was not able to comply with the demands of the lending bank, the lending bank initiated RRC proceeding and the same was forwarded to Collector, Ujjain on 11.07.2012. The Collector, Ujjain, further delegated the RRC to the present applicant who was working as ‘Tehsildar’ ordered for public auction of the said property. Thereafter the results of the auction were declared and one Prem Kumar Dangi was declared the highest bidder for Rs.12,11,000/-. The lending bank agreed to the bidding amount on 12.09.2013. Thereafter, letters were issued to the borrower and served the borrower regarding the said bid and upon non-appearance of the borrower, the said auction land was given to the highest bidder on 03.10.2013 and the loan amount was accordingly set off by the lending bank. A cheque was accordingly issued by the lending bank in the name of borrower of the amount left after settling the dues which was accordingly received by the borrower.
In this case, the provisions of the Act, 1985, makes it clear that what is provided under the Act is an additional protection afforded to a Judge apart from that in other institutions. Judicial Officers Protection Act, 1850 was intended to provide greater protection to the Magistrates and the others acting judicially. The Act also provides protection only in the matter of civil actions. The question of protection has to be examined from two different angles. Provisions of section 3(1) not only protects Judges as defined in Section 2 from civil or criminal proceedings for any act, thing or word committed, done or spoken by him when, or in the course of, acting in the discharge of his official duty or function but also extends the protection to them for any act, thing or word committed, done or spoken by him while purporting to act in the discharge of his official or judicial duty or function. Obviously, the protection does not extend to acts purely administrative/ministerial/extra-judicial/alien to the judicial duty. Any act, which is not done in the discharge of his judicial duty, is therefore, not covered by the sub-Section. In the present case, the allegation against the applicant is that she had misused her post or position by auctioning the subject property in a much lower price than the guideline value. Further, it has been found that the property in question has been sold on a very lower price to one Prem Kumar Dangi who was her servant and the witness was her husband namely Ranjit Karnal. Thus, the allegation against the present applicant pertains to misuse of her post. The Supreme Court in the case of Union of India vs. K.K. Dhawan reported in (1993) 2 SCC 56 has enumerated following guidelines in regard to initiation of proceedings against an officer who had performed quasi-judicial functions: (i) Whether the officer had acted in a manner as would reflect on his reputation for integrity or good faith or devotion to duty. (ii) If there is prima facie material to show recklessness or misconduct in the discharge of his duty. (iii) If he has acted in a manner which is unbecoming of a government servant. (iv) If he had acted negligently or that he omitted the prescribed conditions which are essential for the service of the statutory powers. In the present case, the allegation against the present applicant is for misusing of her post and office by extending undue benefit to her husband as well as to her servant, we are of the considered opinion that Trial Court rightly held that the present applicant was not entitled for protection under the Judges Protection Act, 1985. In view of the aforesaid, we do not find any illegality in the order impugned passed by the Trial Court warranting any interference in the revisional jurisdiction. Accordingly, the present criminal revision stands dismissed.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY SHREYA NIDHI