Falling for "gratification of lust" proved costly for a magistrate from Maharashtra, as the Supreme Court, unmoved by his pleas for leniency, upheld his dismissal from service citing "lacunae" in the purity of his character.
A bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Aniruddha Bose said: "In our view the word 'gratification' does not only mean monetary gratification.
Gratification can be of various types.
It can be gratification of money, gratification of power, gratification of lust etc.
In this case the officer decided the cases because of his proximate relationship with a lady lawyer and not because the law required him to do so. "
The apex court referred gratification influenced by lust as of a different kind.
And this kind of gratification proved detrimental for the judicial officer, Shrirang Yadavrao Waghmare, as he compromised on the expectations of integrity, behaviour and probity expected of him.
"His conduct is as such that no leniency can be shown and he cannot be visited with a lesser punishment, " observed the court.
The judicial officer was appointed as a Judicial Magistrate in 1985.
In February 2001, he was put under suspension and dismissed from service in January 2004.
He could not avail any relief from the High Court.
The apex court noted that the purpose of deciding this appeal, it is foremost necessary to take into account the core allegation against him.
"The allegation was that he had a proximate relationship with a lady lawyer and due to this relationship he passed certain judicial orders in favour of her clients, including her mother and brother when they were parties to certain proceedings, " observed the top court.
The court noted that these findings on the magistrate's conduct have been upheld by all courts and even the apex court has not interfered with those findings and issued notice limited to the quantum of punishment.
"A Judge is judged not only by his quality of judgments but also by the quality and purity of his character.
Impeccable integrity should be reflected both in public and personal life of a judge.
One who stands in judgments over others should be incorruptible.
That is the high standard which is expected of judges", said the court.