Goa lawyers, AAP protest judge’s transfer

Panaji, July 13 (IANS) The order to transfer a trial court judge was on Monday flayed by a lawyers’ association and Aam Aadmi Party, dubbing the move as “intimidation” and “interference” in the working of the judiciary.

Judicial Magistrate First Class Bosco Robert was in the news after he issued a warrant to search Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s official residence in New Delhi to trace a former minister absconding at that time.

South Goa Advocates Association said it resolved to “protest and strongly condemn” last week’s transfer of the judicial magistrate as secretary of South Goa District Legal Services Authority as “there is a strong feeling among SGAA members that the transfer order is a matter of intimidation of the judiciary”.

In a statement issued here on Monday, the association said it also would boycott Robert’s replacement, JMFC Anil Scaria who, the statement claimed, “does not enjoy good health”.

“We have resolved that SGAA members will refrain from working with Anil Scaria in the court of civil judge, senior division, Margao, Goa, if he is posted as a judicial officer in the said court,” the statement said.

The Aam Aadmi Party in Goa too said that Robert’s transfer was “yet another incident of interference in the judiciary by the state government”.

“The arbitrary posting is a clear indication that the judge is being punished,” the AAP said.

Roberts on April 22 ordered a search of Parrikar’s residence to trace former minister Francisco Pacheco after lawyer-activist Aires Rodrigues told the court that Pacheco was seen in the vicinity of the said address.

Pacheco, whose Goa Vikas Party is in alliance with the ruling BJP here, was on the run for nearly two months before he was arrested last month.

A red-faced BJP-led coalition government in Goa appealed against the search warrant and managed to secure a stay on the same day.

In May, state chief secretary R.K. Srivastava wrote to the Bombay High Court, seeking examination of Robert’s conduct, calling his search warrant order “illegal” and one with “political overtones”.

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