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What happens when a judge commits an offence while acting judicially?

If any offence has been committed with a person and the police officer isn’t lodging a First Information Report (F.I.R) or Non Cognizable Report (N.C.R) then that person still has hope that he can get justice. He goes directly to the Magistrate (in criminal matters) / Judge (in civil matters) and lodges a complaint against the offender.

 

After that the Magistrate examines the complaint and witnesses, if he finds the complaint reasonable, he may issue, process or dismiss the case if he is not satisfied, he can even keep the matter pending if he is not satisfied.

 

But what happens in a case, he commits offence. It’s obvious that if he did any offence with mens rea(evil intention) then he shall be punishable for the offence just like any ordinary person. But what if he acted judicially and committed an offence?

 

Section 77 of Indian Penal Code

It provides special immunity in case he was acting judicially.

The essentials of Section 77 of Indian Penal Code –

  • Act done in discharge of his official duty
  • Act performed in good faith
  • Act done by a judge within his jurisdiction even if he exceeded his jurisdiction, he will get protection in case of good faith.

 

Section 78 of Indian Penal Code

It provides immunity in cases where an act committed by the Judge jn pursuant to the order of the Court.

Ingredients of this section –

  • Act done in good faith
  • He believed in the legality of the order

If the order was illegal then also he shall not be punished.

But one should know that immunity is given only when he acts in good faith.

In Delhi Judicial Service Authority, Tis Hazari Court v. State of Gujarat (1991)

The Court held that no privilege or protection will be given to a Judge who knowingly exceeds his authority or does something contrary to law.

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