Dhanya Rajendran| July 28, 2014| 3.00 pm IST
Justice Katju has struck again. The former Supreme Court judge and Press Council of India chairman has returned with a new blog titled, âHow the Collegium actually works.â This time Justice Katju has once again raised the question about former Chief Justice of India, Justice K G Balakrishnanâs involvement in elevating a âcorrupt judge.â
Justice Katju alleges that when he was a Judge of the Supreme Court, he briefed Justice Kapadia that, âA Chief Justice of a High Court, who had earlier been a Judge of the Madras High Court, had a very bad reputation about his integrity. I told Justice Kapadia that I had heard that this Judge was being considered for elevation to the Supreme Court, so I thought it is my duty to inform him about this Judge, and now it was for him to do whatever he wants.â
Justice Katju also adds that there was no point informing Justice Balakrishnan, the then CJI, as he believed Justice Balakrishnan was pushing for elevation of that Judge to the Supreme Court.
The judge was eventually recommended by the collegium for elevation as Supreme Court judge, but his election was stalled after lawyers in Chennai high court protested and he was subsequently transferred to Sikkim.
Justice Katjuâs allegations this time are obviously about the controversial former Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, Justice P D Dinakaran who was accused of illegal land encroachments, forming companies to subvert land ceiling laws and unlawfully getting five housing board plots. The Dinakaran family owned at least 500 acres of land. A powerful forum of lawyers from Chennai had taken on Justice Dinakaran, protests against him had erupted in Madras and Karnataka High Courts.
Dinakaran was the second judge in the country against whom impeachment proceedings were started. He resigned in 2011 citing lack of faith in the three-member inquiry Committee probing charges against him.
Why was PMO interested in Justice Kannadasan?
Last week, soon after Justice Katju made allegations that the DMK had pressurized the Prime Minister to confer permanent status to a Madras high court additional judge Justice Ashok Kumar, details of a PMO note emerged. The PMO note on June 17, 2005 titled 'appointment of permanent judges in the Madras HC' to the department of justice said, âThe prime minister has directed that clarifications be sought by the ministry of law and justice as to why the names of Justice S Ashok Kumar and Justice N R Kannadasan have not been recommended. The proposal be resubmitted (to the collegium) with the clarification."
While Justice Ashok Kumarâs posting has been much talked about, there has been hardly any discussion on Justice N R Kannadasan.
Justice Kannadasan, a busy advocate working in the Madras High Court was appointed as an additional judge of the Madras High Court in November, 2003. Sources say another judge at the Madurai bench of the Madras High Court complained about Kannadasan as he gave bails to many accused in a drug trade cae. The accused, most of them hailing from Sri Lanka had been remanded by the former judge, and a week later they were given bails by Kannadasan, though there was no change in circumstances. Bail bonds can be issued if there are significant changes in circumstances like completion of investigation, seizures etc. Since there was no change in circumstances, the judge was irritated and complained to the Madras High Court Chief Justice.
When Justice Katju became the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, he asked for an IB report on Kannadasan. But when we asked, Justice Katju merely said he did not want to speak about Kannadasan.
Following this, Justice Kannadasanâs services were neither confirmed nor extended beyond the initial two years period, and he ceased to hold post as judge by 2005-end.
Later, the Karunanidhi government appointed him as Additional Advocate- General of the Madras High Court with effect from November 5, 2006.
It is not clear why the Prime Ministerâs office spoke up for Justice Kannadasan in its note to the justice ministry in June 2005. Was there a political party backing Kannadasan or were other judges backing him?
Kannadasan made a representation to the Madras high Court registry and in 2008 he was included in the list for retired judges. He was appointed by the TN government as chairman of the Consumer Commission in July 2008, but by December that year, it was quashed by the Madras High Court.
Justice Katju has raised questions over the appointment of Justice Ashok Kumar and Justice P D Dinakaran, Justice Kannadasanâs case also received attention in the process.
But does the list end there?