When we were younger, we were taught that if there was something wrong happening in front of us, we should interfere and raise our voice against it. But now that we’re older, we’re hesitant about it. Primarily because we’ve seen examples of honest people being penalised for exposing wrongdoings. An engineer who brought to light Volkswagen’s diesel car emissions fraud in 2013, was fired by GM. Also, an IAS officer was transferred 27 times for blowing the whistle on an Rs. 300 crore land scam.
The case of Mintu Mallick (Railway Magistrate, Sealdah) is pretty similar. In May 2007, he was waiting for a train which did not arrive at the station on time. On enquiring further he discovered that the train was always late due to the smuggling mafia.
The New Indian Express reports that the judge called the train’s driver and guard to court to settle the matter but railway employees protested. Subsequently, he was suspended for overstepping his jurisdiction. In 2013, he was compulsorily retired from his post. His initials appeals were turned down but a division bench of the Calcutta High Court (Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Suvra Ghosh) heard his case.
On July 4, 2019, the Court said that his punishment was “disproportionate’’ and “shocking’’. The bench reinstated him and said that he should be paid 75% salary of the intervening years (in which he was compulsorily retired) and the HC will pay him Rs.1 lakh as a penalty for the extreme punishment ordered earlier.
We sincerely hope that in the future, the judiciary protects the good samaritans who expose wrongdoers instead of punishing them.