‘I am very pained, my husband is not there to defend himself’

Wife of judge at the centre of Katju controversy says, ‘How can anybody talk ill about a person who died’.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:July 23, 2014 1:29 am

Even as the storm over allegations by former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju that former Chief Justice of India R C Lahoti had granted extension to an additional judge of Madras High Court at the instance of previous UPA government refuses to die down, the family of the judge in question — Justice S Ashok Kumar — on Tuesday expressed dismay over the controversy.

“In our culture, we never talk ill of the dead. How can anybody talk ill about a person who died almost five years ago and hence is not able to defend his honour?” asked Ebi Ashok Kumar, widow of Justice Kumar, when reached by The Indian Express for her comments on the controversy.

“I am very pained. My husband is not there to defend himself,” she said. Justice Kumar passed away in October 2009.

In a blog post on July 20, Katju, currently chairperson of the Press Council of India, alleged that three Supreme Court Chief Justices had bent over backwards — at the behest of an ally of the then UPA government — to accommodate a judge in Tamil Nadu against whom there was an “adverse” IB report that he had recommended.

While Katju claimed that the “corrupt” judge had been allowed to continue in office under political pressure, a charge denied by former CJI R C Lahoti as well as then Law Minister H R Bhardwaj, he didn’t reveal the allegations against Kumar.

Meanwhile, the former judge’s action drew strong criticism from legal luminaries, particularly former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee, who came down heavily on Katju for making the allegations after so many years.

“It is very unbecoming of an ex-SC judge to raise this now. By questioning the former Chief Justices, you are bringing down the institution. If he (Katju) says he was performing his duty, it was not his duty as the Chairman of the Press Council, but if he says that as a citizen it was his duty then why did he not perform it earlier? He has acted in a very rash manner. A manner which is very unbecoming of a former SC judge to level allegations against former Chief Justices,” Sorabjee said.

The eminent lawyer said he found it strange that Katju had spoken out now, especially when the judge in question had passed away many years ago. “Strange that a judge who himself was a beneficiary of collegium system under CJI Y K Sabharwal should now bitterly complain against it. He (Katju) said better late than never but it should be earlier the better,” Sorabjee added.

However, the former SC judge upped the ante by posing six questions to former CJI Lahoti on his blog. Among the questions that Katju asked him was whether, after receiving the adverse IB report against the additional judge, Lahoti, who was then CJI, had called a meeting of the collegium and recommended to the Government of India not to extend the two-year-term of the judge. He also asked Lahoti if, after the recommendation of the collegium was sent to the Government of India, he (Lahoti), on his own, without consulting the other two collegium members, wrote a letter to the Government of India asking the Government to give another one-year term as Additional Judge to the concerned Judge.

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  1. B
    Jul 23, 2014 at 8:30 am
    If somene is dead in the 176000 crores 2G scam.. does it reduce his offence or acquit him...AT best he can be included and sentensed post death... let the judgement remain as a BLOT in his NAME/CAREER/
  2. F
    Female Senior Citizen
    Jul 23, 2014 at 3:39 am
    Of course, it is understandable that the wife will try to defend her husband, who is no more. Unfortunately, emerging facts expose a totally different picture!
  3. j
    Jul 22, 2014 at 11:56 pm
    lady if you are so pained return back your husband's looted money to government of INDIA
  4. N
    Jul 23, 2014 at 1:35 am
    Don't worry Ms.Ebi Ashok Kumar. You must have inherited a lot of illgotten money from your husband. Keep enjoying it.
  5. N
    Jul 23, 2014 at 12:36 pm
    In India people are not praised for sharing truth. They see wrong doing in that person. Truth as and when disclosed should be appreciated by one and all. its pity due to this people does not divulge the wrong happenings as people who have done wrong doings would always speak out differently. Later ones find many friend with him. And therefore wrong doing does not get punished
  6. S
    Sriram Narayanaswamy
    Jul 23, 2014 at 4:29 am
    Sorabjee is clearly defending the status quo, not the insution like he claims to. It is true that Katju's timing is suspect, but there ought to be some action taken based on that as well - like reforming the judicial appointments procedures.
  7. R
    Ravindra -Pune
    Jul 23, 2014 at 7:51 am
    Why Katju is saying today?? Media (Print and TV) should not encourage all such ex officers of GOI who speaks controversial issues after 4-5 years of leaving job ,( transferred or reretirement )When on post no one has guts to resign and lodge protest. They enjoy all benefits and now after change of govt , they will speak so that they can get in good books of new govt and get some plum posting Katju is just one person , Ex PM media chief was another, why he did not resign when bad things were happening??Media should boycott these persons
  8. S
    Jul 23, 2014 at 5:24 pm
    No where Mr Katju mentioned the name of the judge.(and to that extent he is decent) It is the DMK Party and the depending judges made his name known to common readers. Former law minister HR Bhardwaj admitted that UPA-I was under pressure from DMK to grant extension to a Madras high court additional judge, Justice Ashok Kumar. Under this cirstances why all of us cornering Mr Katju Please see whether the current way of appointing the Judges is right or wrong. Also note that what Congress tried to do earlier which was opposed by BJP (The much touted judicial commission is no solution either.) is now indirectly be pushed by BJP in the name of this complaint The objective result of the revelation now is to embarr the Congressand blunt its criticism of the present government’s way of handling judicialappointments.
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