The Supreme Court in a recent matter summed up the law relating to the compulsory retirement of judicial officers.  The Bench consisting of Justice L. Nageswara Rao and Justice Deepak Gupta referred to various judgements and summed up the law relating to the same in an elaborate manner.

They observed that an order directing compulsory retirement of a judicial officer is not punitive in nature, has no civil consequences and subsequent promotions do not mean that earlier adverse records cannot be looked into.

They also noted that the ‘washed off’ theory does not apply in case of judicial officers with respect to adverse entries relating to integrity. Lastly, they also discussed that the power of judicial review should be exercised sparingly keeping in mind that the order of retirement of a judicial officer is directed on the recommendation of a high powered committee of a High Court.

They concluded by also observing that a judicial officer’s integrity must be of a higher order and even a single aberration would not be permissible. Stating the same along with elucidating on the inapplicability of the washed of theory in the matter filed by the judicial officers in Jharkhand who had been compulsorily retired, the Court dismissed the writ petition.

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Link for Judgement: Arun Kumar Gupta v. State of Jharkhand