The South Goa Advocates Association on Friday marched through the streets of Margao and held a meeting at the historic Lohia Maidan demanding justice to Judge Desmond D’Costa and Judge Anuja Prabhudessai while at the same time reviving the demand for an independent High Court for the State.
The authorities were given 15 days to complete the enquiry and re-instate Judge Desmond D’Costa and also to drop the disciplinary proceedings initiated against Judge Anuja Prabhudessai, failing which it was decided to intensify the agitation.
The tenor of the speeches at the meeting was that these two judges were targeted to mar their chances of being elevated to the High Court. The implication was that the Bombay High Court officials are deliberately targeting Goan judges to prevent them from being elevated and it was pointed out that Judge Anuja Prabhudessai was first in line for the elevation before her suspension.
It was also pointed out that even though the enquiry officer appointed by the Bombay High Court had exonerated Judge Anuja Parbhudessai of any wrong doing, the disciplinary committee had initiated the action by rejected the enquiry officer’s report. This, it was said, was to only harass the judge and prevent her elevation to the High Court.
On the other hand, in the case of Desmond D’Costa, the argument was that a deliberately misleading report was submitted by the Principal Sessions Judge for reasons best known to him and action was demanded against the Principal Sessions Judge, who incidentally is now in the race for elevation to the High Court.
The long delay in suspending Judge Desmond D’Costa was also questioned as the report was submitted in March last year following which a show cause notice was issued in June which was promptly replied to.
While pointing out that the suspension order was issued only after Justice Britto retired from the Bombay High Court thereby creating a vacancy makes its intention suspicious, said the speakers.
President of the South Goa Advocates Association revealed that the High Court had assured them that justice would be meted out within 15 days and hence said the association was given them the time sought to take remedial action.
The demand for an independent High Court for Goa was repeated by most of the speakers who argued that without an independent High Court, the Statehood conferred upon Goa was not complete.
“Goa is undoubtedly one of the most developed States. It has a literacy rate of above 85 per cent and has the required infrastructure to have its own High Court. We have more than 2,500 advocates practicing in various courts in Goa. Our Judicial system is well established, yet we are denied the privilege and the honour of having our own High Court,” stated the representation jointly signed by Association president Adv Anacleto Viegas and secretary Adv Pritam Moraes which is addressed to the President of India.