Dinakaran Probe SC allows NGO to assist in the case
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Dinakaran Probe SC allows NGO to assist in the case

Bar & Bench

The Supreme Court yesterday allowed the Chennai based NGO, Forum for Judicial Accountability to assist the court in deciding Sikkim High Court Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran’s plea. Justice Dinkaran has alleged that the Rajya Sabha appointed three member panel probing charges of judicial misconduct and corruption against him was biased.

The Supreme Court yesterday allowed the Chennai based NGO, Forum for Judicial Accountability to assist the court in deciding Sikkim High Court Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran’s plea. Justice Dinkaran has alleged that the Rajya Sabha appointed three member panel probing charges of judicial misconduct and corruption against him was biased.

The Rajya Sabha panel had slapped 16 charges of corruption and irregularities on Justice Dinakaran.

The order of the apex court was in relation to a plea filed by the NGO. ET reports, the Bench of Justices G. S. Singhvi and C. K. Prasad granted Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan permission to advance arguments on behalf of the NGO.

By way of background, the NGO had initiated the campaign against Justice Dinakaran to stall his proposed elevation to the Supreme Court in 2009.

While allowing the petition of the NGO, the Court, put a condition that the NGO would confine itself to oral submissions and would not make any written submissions during the hearing of the petitions filed by Justice Dinakaran.

During the hearing, Prashant Bhushan argued that the NGO, which had assisted the committee conducting the inquiry against Supreme Court Judge Justice V. Ramaswami in the impeachment proceedings, should be allowed to do the same in the case against Justice Dinakaran.

Senior Counsel Amrendra Saran, appearing for Justice Dinakaran opposed the application filed by Bhushan saying that the conduct of the judges should be considered by the judges and not by members of the Bar or any other persons. He cited the provisions of the Judges Inquiry Act 1968 to support his argument.

The apex court had, on April 29, 2011 stayed the proceedings of the Inquiry Panel headed by Supreme Court Judge Justice Aftab Alam, Karnataka High Court Chief Justice J S Kehar and Senior Advocate P.P. Rao. The panel is probing corruption as well as misbehaviour charges against Justice Dinakaran.

Justice Dinakaran had earlier raised a preliminary objection before the three-member panel demanding that Rao should recuse himself from the investigation on the ground that Rao is biased. However, the committee on April 24, 2011 passed an order rejecting his plea for the recusal of Rao from the committee. This ex-parte order of the committee acted as a trigger for Justice Dinakaran to move the apex court.

According to media reports, Senior Counsel Amrendra Saran sought Rao’s withdrawal from the panel on the ground that he was biased as he was one of the members of a delegation which in 2009 had met the then Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan to oppose Justice Dinakaran’s elevation to the Supreme Court which was later put on hold.

Senior Counsel Uday Lalit, appearing for the panel, argued that Rao had never handed over a complaint to the then Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan against Justice Dinakaran and he did not lead the delegation that had handed over the complaint. It is a fact that he had participated in a seminar, Lalit informed the Bench.

The impeachment proceedings against Justice Dinakaran have been going on for more than 16 months now.  The proceedings began on January 16 last year under the committee headed by Justice V S Sirpurkar. Thereafter, Justice Alam headed the committee after Justice Sirpurkar recused on September 23, 2010.

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