Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju, currently Chairman of Press Council of India, on Monday stirred a controversy by alleging that three ex-Chief Justices of India had compromised in giving extension to an additional judge of Madras High court at the instance of UPA government in the wake of pressure from one of its allies, apparently DMK.
Katju made the charge while alleging how the three former CJIs – Justices R C Lahoti, Y K Sabharwal and K G Balakrishnan – had made “imroper compromises” in allowing the judge, against whom there were several allegations of corruption, to continue in office.
“These three former CJIs made improper compromises. Justice Lahoti who started it, then Justice Sabharwal and then Justice Balakrishnan. These are CJIs who can surrender. Is a CJI going to surrender to political pressure or not going to surrender to political pressure?” Katju, who became the Chief Justice of Madras High Court in November 2004, told NDTV. Katju later became a Supreme Court judge.
Secret IB inquiry
Katju said since he got many reports that the additional judge concerned was allegedly indulging in corruption he had requested the then CJI Lahoti to get a secret IB inquiry made about him.
He claimed that the IB report found the allegations to be true and he should have been sacked.
Katju said since the two-year term as additional judge of that person was coming to an end he presumed he would be discontinued as judge.
“But to my utter shock I came to know he was been given another extension when an adverse IB report was there,” he said.
Katju said he came to know that the reason for all this was that at that time the UPA-I government was dependent on
allies and one of them was a Tamil Nadu party, an apparent reference to DMK, whose leader was given bail by the additional judge concerned.
Katju said that the additional judge was not a permanent judge and that they he may or may not be confirmed.
“There was no justification for giving him another term of one year and later on Justice Lahoti retired. Justice Sabharwal also I think once or twice gave him terms as additional judge and then he also retired. Justice Balakrishnan made this judge permanent judge although he tranferred him to another High Court,” he said.
The leader of the Tamil Nadu party was a solid supporter of the additional judge who had given him bail, he said.
Katju said the matter had come to a three-judge collegium of the apex court of which Lahoti and Sabharwal were among the members and it was recommended that the district judge should not be continued in office.
He said on coming to know of the recommendation of collegium the Tamil Nadu-based party reportedly objected to it.
Katju said the information he got was that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was at that time continued…