Apex court seeks govt reply on plea against Balakrishnan

A Bench of Justices B S Chauhan and S K Bobde directed the Solicitor General to file the response within three weeks

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published:August 27, 2013 2:31 am

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to respond to a PIL,seeking directive to the government for recommending a Presidential reference for removal of former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan as NHRC chairman on alleged corruption charges.

A Bench of Justices B S Chauhan and S K Bobde directed the Solicitor General to file the response within three weeks to convey to the court the government’s decision on recommending the Presidential reference.

“Let them make their stand clear whether they have disposed of the complaint or it is still pending with them,” the Bench told advocate Prashant Bhushan,who appeared for petitioner NGO ‘Common Cause’.

Earlier,Bhushan contended he had moved the court since according to him,the government had decided against taking any actions against Justice Balakrishnan despite his complaint and supporting evidence.

The Bench however pointed out that as per the last communication to the representation by the NGO,the matter was sent to the Law Ministry and it would imply that the final decision was still pending. “At this stage,we are asking the Centre to file its response within three weeks. They will come and inform us,” it said.

The NGO has requested the court to issue orders for initiating steps for the removal of Justice Balakrishnan as NHRC chairperson by making a reference to the apex court for holding an inquiry against him under the Protection of Human Rights Act.

The NGO had alleged that the ex-CJI and his relatives amassed wealth far exceeding their legal income during Balakrishnan’s tenure as an apex court judge.

The government had refused to make a reference on the ground that the alleged charges against Balakrishanan pertained to the period before he was made the NHRC chairperson and hence an inquiry could not be recommended under the Act. The Ministry of Home Affairs,in its communication,contended that Justice Balakrishnan’s conduct as the CJI was not a relevant ground for making a Presidential reference.

This reply had come to the NGO following its first round of legal battle,which was decided by the court in May 2012. The court had then said if there was any truth in the allegations,then it was for the President to make a reference to the Supreme Court,on the advice of Council of Ministers,for inquiry against the former CJI.

The court had requested the competent authority to take a decision on the communication dated April 4,2011 (addressed by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms,to the President of India).

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