Dattatreya Panday, ancien Ag Magistrate de la Cour intermédiaire, a été débouté par la Cour suprême. Dans un jugement rendu hier, le juge Saheed Bhaukaurally a rejeté les deux motions qu’il avait logées contre l’État. La première, déposée le 16 septembre 2010, réclamait « a judgment ordering the above named respondent to provide the above named applicant with measures to ensure procedural and legal transparency consistent with international human rights norms and standards so as to right the wrong one to the applicant by one of respondent’s organs, the Judicial and Legal Service Commission (JLSC) ». Le plaignant avait été nommé Temporary District Magistrate à compter du 2 septembre 2003. La Judicial and Legal Service Commission a mis un terme à son embauche comme magistrat le 2 mars 2006. Sa demande pour une judicial review de la décision de la JLSC lui a été refusée par un bench de deux juges le 31 octobre 2006.
L’ancien magistrat a demandé l’autorisation de faire appel au Judicial Committee du Privy Council (JCPC) et a renouvelé sa demande pour une révision de la décision du JLSC. Le 1er décembre 2008, la JCPC lui a donné gain de cause, rejetant ainsi la décision de la JLSC.
« It is to be noted that the claim of the applicant before the Supreme Court and the JCPC was for reinstatement in his position », rappelle le juge Bhaukaurally. Le JCPC, après avoir entendu les arguments des parties, a renvoyé l’affaire en Cour suprême pour qu’elle examine la question de la demande du plaignant « for an award of unpaid salary and general constitutional damages ». Le JCPC a ajouté que la Cour suprême « will be able to give such directions as may be required with regard to the giving of evidence and disclosure ».
Le 4 mai 2009, Dattatreya Panday, « by way of a motion paper supported by an affidavit chose to move the Supreme Court for a judgment ordering the JLSC to (a) pay the Applicant the sum of Rs 16 478 942 representing the damnum emergens for its having unconstitutionally and unfairly terminated his temporary appointment by the unconstitutional and unfair use of its discretion in the exercise of its power to remove him from office pursuant to section 86 of the Constitution, (b) pay the Applicant the sum of Rs 114 047 475 representing both the damnum emergens and the lucrum cessans for having unconstitutionally and unfairly caused him to lose a career in the Judiciary by the unconstitutional and unfair use of its discretion in the exercise of its power to appoint him (which power included the power to confirm him in his appointment) in the office of Magistrate pursuant to section 86 of the Constitution and (c) issue, along the lines in paragraph 30 of the affidavit, a press communiqué and cause the publication thereof so as to mitigate the irreparable harm it has caused to the Applicant’s honour, dignity, character, and reputation as Magistrate in the exercise of his judicial functions. With costs. And Interests as from 30 April 2006.
Commentant la motion, le juge dit ce qui suit : « One striking feature is that the applicant himself chose to enter a case by way of motion before the Supreme Court for damnum emergens and also a separate item of both damnum emergens and lucrum cessans following, what he himself said, was a remission from the JCPC. When the Supreme Court gave directions, as recommended by the JCPC, that the motion and the affidavit of the applicant be treated as a Plaint with Summons in order to ensure the procedural safeguards for a fair hearing of the matters remitted to the Supreme Court, the applicant was dissatisfied with the ruling, although he had agreed that the Judge should set the “correct procedural process” for determination of the issues. After he met with a refusal by the Registrar of the JCPC for the reason that he was not in a position to apply for permission to appeal, he applied for review of the Registrar’s decision. Whilst seeking what he termed an interpretation of the mandate given by the JCPC to the Supreme Court, he practically challenged the decision of the JCPC remitting his case to the Supreme Court by stating that in view of the requirements of section 10 (8) of the Constitution, the only Court that fulfils the requirements of that section would be the JCPC. After he was told that the Board of the JCPC agreed with the decision of the Registrar, he comes back to the Supreme Court with the first motion. In his affidavit, he added a second section of the Constitution : section 3, which guarantees protection of the law. »
À un certain moment, le plaignant a suggéré que l’on ait recours à une solution telle que la médiation, la négociation ou l’arbitrage. À cette proposition, le juge répond qu’il suffit de comprendre que ces modes alternatifs de résolution de litiges ne sont applicables que s’il y a un accord entre les parties.
« Making an order in terms of the submissions of applicant on this issue would be tantamount to ordering the State to pass a law giving effect to his contention, which will be a blatant violation of the doctrine of separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution », conclut le juge.
L’État était représenté par Me Iqbal Maghooa, Deputy DPP, alors que Dattatreya Panday a agi, lui-même, comme son avocat.