I was appointed a permanent Judge of the Allahabad High Court in November 1991, and was almost sacked a few months thereafter. This is an untold story which you may find interesting.
A few months after I was appointed a Judge a case came before me, Naresh Chand vs. District Inspector of Schools, Ghaziabad ( see 1992 Labour and Industrial Cases where the judgment is reported ) which I heard and decided.
The facts of the case were that a young man, Naresh Chand, had been appointed a biology teacher on ad hoc basis by the management of an obscure High School in District Ghaziabad in the State of U.P. in India.. Under the relevant rules, his appointment had to be approved by the District Inspector of Schools.
The D.I.O.S. refused to approve the appointment on the ground that Naresh Chand belonged to an O.B.C. ( Other Backward Castes, which are the intermediate castes in India in the social ladder, below the so called ' upper castes ', but above the Scheduled Castes or dalits ), while the post had been reserved for a Scheduled Caste candidate.. Consequently his appointment was cancelled by the management of the school and his service was terminated. Naresh Chand challenged this before the Allahabad High Court, and the case came before me.
I have always been passionate about science, and have always believed that science is the means of solving India's huge problems. This case gave me an opportunity of putting forward my philosophy in a judgment.
The view I took was that though reservation on caste basis may be acceptable in other fields, they were not acceptable in the fields of science and technology because these fields were vital for India's progress, and hence no compromises were permissible in these fields. Consequently there could be no valid reservation in these fields, either for admission in educational institutions or on jobs pertaining to these fields. I remember a few passages of my judgment :
" The policy of reservations is basically a compromise between the need for excellence on the one hand, and the need to help the historically socially and economically disadvantaged classes on the other. However, in my opinion there can be no compromise in the fields of science and technology.
When our country was on the scientific path it prospered. With the aid of science we had built mighty civilizations thousands of years ago when most people in Europe, except in Greece and Rome, were living in forests. We had made outstanding scientific discoveries, e.g. decimal system in mathematics, plastic surgery in medicine, etc. However subsequently we took to the unscientific path of superstitions and empty rituals, which has led us to disaster. The way out therefore is to go back again to the scientific path shown by our ancestors, the path of Aryabhatta and Brahmagupta, Sushrut and Charak, Panini and Patanjali, Ramanujan and Raman.
While the socially and economically depressed classes should certainly be helped, the interest of the nation cannot be overlooked. As is said ' Interest Republicae Suprema Lex ' ( the interest of the republic is the supreme law ). A line has to be drawn somewhere to the policy of caste based reservations, and I draw the line at Science. Hence there can be no valid reservations in the field of science and technology."
Consequently I quashed the order cancelling the appointment of Naresh Chand, and ordered his reinstatement.
This judgment, delivered in 1992 (shortly after I had been appointed a Judge ), created a furore all over India. While huge rallies, particularly of students, were held in support of my judgment in many parts of India, there were counter rallies elsewhere. The media commented on it widely for several days, a large section supporting me, but another section attacking me.
In Allahabad the ' Social Justice Movement ' publicly burnt my effigy and copies of my judgment. They resolved to place a lock on the gates of the Allahabad High Court, but were prevented by the police from doing so. A large contingent of policemen had to be placed around the premises of the Allahabad High Court. I started receiving threats by anonymous letters and on telephone.
From the newspapers I learnt that the members of Parliament belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Tribes held a meeting in Delhi and decided to bring a bill in Parliament for my impeachment..
My wife and other family members were scared. I had just been appointed a High Court Judge, and here I was , on the verge of being sacked ! For a long time I could not go for walks ( which I am fond of ), and except for going to the High Court had to remain confined to my house.
Fortunately, the storm blew over and I survived.