Legal experts were surprised by the abrupt transfer of the Palghar judicial magistrate first class (JMFC), RG Bagade. He had handled the case of two girls arrested by the police over a Facebook post criticising the shutdown for Bal Thackeray’s funeral.
Senior counsel Majid Memon said, “If the magistrate was transferred just for granting bail to the girls, then it doesn’t seem fair. In a case where the prosecution persuades the court to grant custody, the situation is slightly different. But in the case of the girls, they weren’t summarily discharged. In my view, this does not warrant any disciplinary action against the magistrate.”
“It appears that it was a penal transfer, because instead of discharging the accused, he granted bail. They may say it is a routine transfer, which involves a posting of three years but that is not a must. Nobody will be able to do anything. There is always an administrative judge, and the lower judicial officers are liable for transfers,” said senior counsel Adhik Shirodkar.
The Bombay high court by its notification dated November 26 transferred and posted Bagade as joint civil judge in Pachora, Jalgaon district. The transfer came a few days after the court had released the two girls on bail.
Shaheen Dhada was arrested last Monday for posting a Facebook status questioning the city’s shutdown on November 18. Her friend and Rini Srinivasan was arrested for ‘liking’ the status. Their arrests had sparked a wave of outrage across the country.