Goa lawyers continue strike over judge’s suspension

Friday, February 11, 2011

PANAJI - Goa lawyers continued their agitation against the suspension of a district judge for the second day, with more lawyers joining the strike Friday. A ruling Congress leader also criticised the suspension, terming it “a sad day for judiciary”.

Lawyers from South Goa district headquarters of Margao staged a demonstration and boycotted courts Thursday to the protest the suspension of 54-year-old District and Sessions Judge Desmond D’Costa by the Bombay High Court.

On Friday, lawyers from sub-district courts in Ponda, Pernem, Quepem, Canacona joined the agitation.

D’Costa was recently in the news after he acquitted a 40-year-old serial killer, Mahanand Naik, in a murder case involving one of his 16 women victims.

A delegation led by the South Goa Advocates Association (SGAA) president Anacleto Viegas submitted a memorandum to the registrar of the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court, demanding the immediate reinstatement of the judge.

“The agitation will continue if Judge D’Costa is not reinstated,” Viegas said.

“D’Costa’s suspension - for a matter which he judicially decided and against which no appeal was filed by the state government - is highly deplorable,” Viegas said.

“D’Costa is in the dock for merely doing his duty. The association will be constrained to take all available recourse possible, including direct action, if his suspension is not revoked,” Viegas added.

Backing the suspended judge, Congress leader and assembly Deputy Speaker Mauvin Godinho said: “I have known Judge Desmond DCosta. He is an upright man known for his principles. This is a sad day for the judiciary. I fully support DCosta.”

Meanwhile, a civil society organisation also held a public meeting in D’Costa’s support.

“The meeting is a mark of protest against the decision of the honourable judiciary to suspend an upright man like Judge D’Costa,” social activist Satish Sonak said.

–Indo Asian News Service

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