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Monday, April 19, 2021

Known for tough stance against corruption, Judge Dhonchak retires

During first few months of his posting in Gurgaon, the number of inmates had gone down to 2,605 on January 31, 2020 from 2,880 on September 30, 2019. Later in 2020, the courts remained partially shut for a long period due to Covid-19.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
Updated: April 1, 2021 6:40:24 pm
In 2006, as District and Sessions Judge of Mewat, Dhonchak had reprimanded the policemen for producing an undertrial to the court in handcuffs without permission of the judge. (File Photo)

Known for his tough stance against corruption and significant judgments aiming to protect individual liberty, a judicial officer M M Dhonchak attained superannuation on Wednesday after an “eventful” career spanning over three decades. Currently, he was District and Sessions Judge of Gurgaon.

Serving as District and Sessions Judge in Gurgaon, Kaithal and Nuh during past around six years, Dhonchak laid special emphasis on adherence to Supreme Court guidelines in a case “Arnesh Kumar vs State of Bihar and Others” against “illegal arrests” for offences punishable with imprisonment for a term of seven years or less.

During first few months of his posting in Gurgaon, the number of inmates had gone down to 2,605 on January 31, 2020 from 2,880 on September 30, 2019. Later in 2020, the courts remained partially shut for a long period due to Covid-19.

In Gurgaon, Dhonchak, in his term spanning one and a half years, divested several investigating officers of their powers for six months on finding them inefficient apart from making adverse observations against several other police officers for “deficient in discharge of duty”, transferred court staffers accused of corruption to insignificant posts and stressed on scrutiny of challans at the initial stage to do away with any discrepancies.

In a recent order aiming to balance the rights of accused to legal assistance and the investigating agency’s requirement of recording their statements in judicial custody, Dhonchak permitted the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to question two accused in jail premises at Bhondsi for four hours daily for a couple of days but ruled that on both the days, before the questioning, the accused would be at liberty to interact with their counsel for 20 minutes.

In 1993, say sources, a section of local policemen had launched almost an “agitation” against him when he, as judicial magistrate (first class) at Kaithal, began imposing fines on police personnel for not turning up in court for evidence.

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In 2006, as District and Sessions Judge of Mewat, Dhonchak had reprimanded the policemen for producing an undertrial to the court in handcuffs without permission of the judge. In the same year, he had asked the state government to compensate a Mewat resident by paying him Rs 4 lakh for prosecuting him in a criminal case for about for four years.

In a judgment in 2011, Dhonchak as Additional Sessions Judge of Bhiwani had directed the district SP to ensure that the practice of using Urdu words should be abandoned and instead Hindi or English should be used. “The reply to the bail application (of the case) contains several words of Urdu and other languages with which this court is not conversant and it was with great difficulty that this court could apprehend the contents …time and again this court has expressed its displeasure over this irresponsible attitude of the police,” the judge had stated.

Meanwhile, Surya Pratap Singh will take over as the new District and Sessions Judge of Gurgaon.

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