Activists protest two Goa judges’ suspension

Monday, February 14, 2011

PANAJI - Hundreds of lawyers and civil society activists took to the streets here Monday, demanding the withdrawal of suspension of two Goa judges. They also sought an “immediate halt” to the alleged victimisation of upright judges by the Bombay High court.

The protesters, including members of the civil society as well as lawyers, protested the suspension of district judges Desmond D’Costa and Anuja Prabhudesai.

The activists held a public meeting at the Azad Maidan square in Panaji, in which top lawyers, retired bureaucrats and lawyers participated.

“The Bombay High court is destroying the judiciary in Goa. In the moment where corruption is plaguing the judiciary, they are picking honest judges and shooting them down,” said senior counsel Saresh Lotlikar, practising at the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court.

“Goa should have a separate high court now,” demanded Lotlikar.

Currently, the Bombay High court is represented in Goa by the bench functioning from Panaji.

Former chief secretary J.C. Almeida addressed the gathering and said that the “reinstatement of judge D’Costa is the absolute need of the hour”. He said D’Costa’s suspension would send a wrong signal to honest judges in the state.

The meeting passed a resolution demanding “full transparency and observance of the principles of natural justice and the due process of law in matters of judicial administration and disciplinary action”.

The resolution also demanded the “immediate withdrawal of suspension (of judges) and… immediate halt to victimisation of honest and upright judges”.

Over the last one week, lawyers in various areas in Goa have repeatedly struck work to protest D’Costa’s suspension.

At Monday’s meeting, the legal community also criticised the “unfair” suspension of Prabhudesai, who was holding the position of industrial tribunal president when she faced the action last year.

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