NEW DELHI: In a stinging indictment of the Collegium system of appointing judges, Press Council of India chief and former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju on Monday said former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan tried his best to elevate a judge, against whom there were charges of corruption, to the apex court.
“I told Justice Kapadia that a Chief Justice of a High Court, who had earlier been a judge of the Madras HC, had a very bad reputation about his integrity,” Katju, former Chief Justice of Madras HC, wrote in his blog post. Katju alleged that Balakrishnan was adamant on the judge being elevated to the Supreme Court. Though he did not name the judge, sources said he might have been referring to former Justice P D Dinakaran. Hours later, the blog post was taken down and could not be found online.
“Kapadia said he remembered that I had warned him a year earlier, but Balakrishnan, the then CJI, was adamant on elevating this corrupt judge, saying that he (Balakrishnan) was earlier a Chief Justice of the Madras High Court and knew that the allegations of corruption about him (the judge) were untrue,” Katju, who is due to retire as PCI chief on October 4, said.
“Justice Kapadia thanked me for this information, and requested me to keep informing him about such matters. Despite my informing Justice Kapadia, the Collegium of the Supreme Court recommended this judge for elevation to the Supreme Court, and he would certainly have been elevated but for the protests of lawyers of Tamil Nadu who furnished documentary proof of that judge’s corruption, e.g. large scale land grab done by him. Then he was transferred to Sikkim,” Katju wrote in his blog, adding that, an impeachment motion was brought against the judge in Parliament, but he resigned before it could be passed.
Katju claimed that Kapadia told him a year later that it was Balakrishnan who insisted on the judge’s elevation, saying that the corruption allegations were untrue. Katju last week started a series of blog posts to expose government pressure on the Collegium. He had alleged that three ex-CJIs — R C Lahoti, Y K Sabharwal and K G Balakrishnan — made improper compromises in allowing a judge to continue in office despite an adverse Intelligence Bureau report. Lahoti and Balakrishnan denied all allegations as “baseless”.