Lawyers boycott courts over suspension of Goa judge


Panaji : Lawyers in South Goa district headquarters of Margao, some 35 km from here, staged a demonstration and boycotted court proceedings Thursday to protest a district judge’s suspension Wednesday by the Bombay High court.

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District Judge Desmond D’Costa was recently in the news after he acquitted a 40-year-old serial killer, Mahanand Naik, in a murder case involving one of his 16 victims, all women.

Scores of lawyers took part in the demonstrations led by the South Goa Advocates Association (SGAA), and demanded that the suspension of 54-year-old judge Desmond D’Costa be immediately revoked. Court rooms remained empty, with the lawyers taking to the streets.

“Why should D’Costa be suspended for dispensing justice in a criminal case within 20 days? It is a matter of credit not a case for suspension,” SGAA president Anacleto Viegas said.

While the terse suspension order of D’Costa does not mention any reason, Viegas said the Mahanand Naik case, which D’Costa heard while principal sessions judge U.V. Bakre was on leave, had resulted in his suspension.

“D’Costa’s suspension – for a matter which he judicially decided and against which no appeal was filed by the state government – is highly deplorable. D’Costa is in the dock for merely doing his duty. The association will be constrained to take all available recourse possible, including direct action, if his suspension is not revoked,” Viegas said.

While the Goa government’s Law Secretary Pramod Kamat has confirmed the suspension, when contacted, he said: “I have no knowledge about the reasons behind his suspension”.

Bombay High Court Registrar M.N. Gilani has also confirmed the suspension order.