Sessions judge suspension triggers protests in Goa

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Panaji, Feb 15 (PTI) Suspension of Additional Sessionscourt judge, Desmond D''Costa, who acquitted serial killerMahanand Naik in a murder case for want of evidence, hassparked protests here with lawyers and social activistsseeking ''justice'' and are demanding his re-instatement.

While lawyers boycotted majority of the lower courts forthree days, social activists have rallied behind D''Costa,resolving to fight against the ''injustice'' meted out to him.

His suspension last week has triggered a lot ofdiscontent among people and the legal fraternity.

South Goa Bar Association''s President Anacleto Viegasclaimed D''Costa''s suspension came after senior PrincipleSessions Judge, U V Bakre, gave a report complaining againsthim to the High Court.

Following this, lawyers from South Goa decided to boycottcourt of Judge Bakre to express solidarity with D''Costa, anerstwhile students'' leader and a judge with 20 years ofexperience.

"We will continue boycotting his courts till D''Costa isre-instated," Viegas said.

Social activists joined hands with lawyers on Monday toprotest the suspension of D''Costa and a rally was held herefor seeking ''justice to a Justice''.

"This is a not challenge for judiciary but in fact, its areaction of outrage about what happened to Desmond," OscarRebello, renowned social activist, told a gathering on Monday.

The public movement has also rendered its support toIndustrial Tribunal Judge Anuja Prabhudesai, who was suspendedin a similar fashion like D''Costa.

"This battle is not about judges, its about us becausefor us these are our icons for truthful judiciary. If theyfall, we fall," Rebello said.

D''Costa''s suspension came after he disposed off one amongthe 16 murder cases against serial killer Mahanand Naik.

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As per the report by Principle District and Sessions judge, Utkarsh Bakre, copy of which is available with the PTI,D''Costa was instructed not to hurriedly dispose off anymatters.

Bakre had proceeded on 15 days leave last year whenD''Costa was handling his cases including that of Naik.

"Though the case was a custody matter, however, it couldnot be said to be such an urgent matter to be disposed off inthe manner, as is done by D''Costa," Bakre in his report datedApril 12, 2010, to the Registrar General of Bombay High Court,has said.

Bakre says that accused Mahanand Naik was in judicialcustody in many murder cases and hence disposal of sessionscase would not have resulted into his liberty from custody.

Judge D''Costa in his reply to the court said that hisanxiety was to do justice. "As I found no material in theevidence on record, I pronounced the judgement on the sameday," he added.

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