Judge who granted bail to accused doctors suspended

A disciplinary authority under Bombay High Court (HC) chief justice Mohit Shah suspended Wednesday S T Mahajan, district judge-1 and additional sessions judge of Ambejogai in Beed district, for granting bail to a doctor couple accused of carrying out illegal sex determination and female feoticide.

HC had initiated suo motu action against Mahajan.

This is the first time a judge has been suspended in a case related to pre-natal sex determination and female feoticide.

It is reliably learnt the disciplinary authority initiated action against Mahajan after observing his decisions "lacked sensitivity" and his approach in dealing with such cases was casual.

Doctors Sudam and Saraswati Munde hail from Parli in Beed district, which has the most skewed child sex ratio in the state. The couple is allegedly involved in 55 cases of female feoticide.

It allegedly carried out abortion on sugarcane worker Vijaymala Patekar, who was in her second trimester, on May 18, 2012, resulting in her death.

The doctors face serious charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and causing death by negligence under IPC and sections of Pre-conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act, 1994, and Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.

Mahajan had also granted bail to Sujata Somvanshi, another doctor suspected to be responsible for 621 female feoticides.

His suspension dated January 9 states, "....the hon'ble chief justice and judges being the disciplinary authority, in exercise of powers conferred by sub rule (l) (a) of rule 4 of Maharashtra Civil Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1979, hereby place the said S T Mahajan under suspension with effect from the date of service of the order of suspension."

The order restrains Mahajan from leaving his headquarters in Ambejogai without district judge permission.

"It is not permissible for S T Mahajan to accept private employment or to do business while under suspension, in view of provisions of rule 16 of Maharashtra Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1979. If, while under suspension, he accepts private employment or does business, he will be guilty of misconduct and will be liable to be dealt with accordingly."

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