NEW DELHI: Senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan on Tuesday demanded an inquiry against Karnataka High Court Judge K L Manjunath and said there was “enough evidence for his impeachment”.
Bhushan said he was in possession of documents that revealed Justice Manjunath had properties in the names of his wife and daughter and that the source of the same could not be explained. Besides, he heard cases in which his wife and daughter’s interests were directly involved.
The Supreme Court collegiums recommended Justice Manjunath’s name for the appointment of the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court. The NDA Government had returned the file after the ‘evidence’ came to light, but the collegiums re-recommended his name for elevation.
According to sources in the Ministry of Law, one of the Supreme Court judges who had served in the Karnataka High Court had written an adverse note against Manjunath and questioned his elevation which was not taken on record by Chief Justice R M Lodha while recommending Manjunath’s elevation. The collegiums had recommended Justice Manjunath to occupy the vacancy created by the appointment of Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court Sanjay Kishan Kaul as the Chief Justice of Madras High Court. As per the Memorandum of Procedure for appointment of High Court judges, the CJI sends his recommendation in consultation with the two senior most judges of the Supreme Court.
As per Law Ministry officials, the decision to send back the collegium’s recommendation was taken after holding consultations with PM Narendra Modi.
However, the collegiums, after looking into the Centre’s concerns, found no merit in the complaints against Justice Manjunath and has reiterated its recommendation to elevate Justice Manjunath as Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. The Central government now has no other option but to elevate Justice Manjunath.