NEW DELHI: Justice Markandey Katju’s charge that three former Chief Justices of India had given term extensions to a corrupt judge reverberated in both Houses of Parliament on Monday, with the AIADMK demanding a probe into the episode as political interference led to the judge’s elevation. The Left parties also demanded answers from the Congress and DMK, as the judge in question was elevated during the UPA tenure. The issue was first raised in Lok Sabha by senior AIADMK leader Thambidurai who demanded adjournment of the Question Hour to discuss the matter. He waved copies of newspapers that published Katju’s explosive claim of a corrupt judge being elevated despite adverse Intelligence Bureau report against him. Speaker Sumitra Mahajan, however, refused to suspend the Question Hour.
Speaking during the Zero Hour, Thambidurai said, “In the previous government, DMK interfered in the appointment of a Madras HC judge. I would like to ask the Law Minister to probe this serious matter. Who is that judge? Who in the DMK party pressured the previous government? That is what I would like to know.”
In Rajya Sabha, the Question Hour was washed out as the AIADMK, demanding a discussion on Katju’s revelations, forced two adjournments.
As soon as the House assembled, “The DMK pressurised the UPA and the UPA succumbed to the pressure. What can be more serious than this?” AIADMK leader V Maitreyan asked. He was told by Chairman Hamid Ansari to obey House rules. DMK’s Kanimozhi objected to the discussion saying that the matter did not pertain to a sitting judge. When AIADMK did not relent on the matter, Ansari adjourned the Question Hour.
CPI’s D Raja, meanwhile, questioned the timing of Katju’s revelations and wondered what he did about the issue back then. Congress leaders trashed Katju’s allegations, saying it was just an attempt by him to remain in news.
Former Law Minister M Veerappa Moily said, “These are all matters to be dealt by the Collegium... I don’t know what is the logic and reason behind raking up the issue after 10 years.” Party leader H R Bhardwaj, who was the Law Minister at the time, claimed that no “undue favours” were given to the judge and proper procedure was followed. “So far as political threats to a coalition government are concerned, there was always pressure (from allies) on appointment of judges to which I never yielded,” he said.