What makes former Supreme Court judge Justice Cyriac Joseph so special to the Congress? The party has been trying hard for the past year to give him a post-retirement position, fiercely opposed by the BJP which perceives it as yet another minority appeasement gesture.
The latest effort by the Government to award the retired judge has been the move to reconsider his name for the post of the Chairman of the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT). This is insurance, in case the BJP’s opposition results in stymieing his appointment as a member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Among various other reasons to have generated controversy, is the fact that Kerala Congress leader K M Mani, the “political voice of Indian Catholics’’, is pushing his case, which has boosted Justice Cyriac’s chances.
The NHRC selection committee, chaired by the Prime Minister, is likely to meet this week where the Government would be mooting the name of Justice Joseph who retired on January 7, 2012. Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley are members of this committee and the latter has openly questioned the move to nominate him for NHRC. “The Government has already decided to accommodate him in a plum position despite BJP opposition. If the Government fails to make him a NHRC member, his name may be again considered for the post of TDSAT chairman,’’ said a source.
If this happens, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal will have to eat his words and accept Justice Cyriac as the head of TDSAT. Sibal had been steadfastly opposing the recommendation, and had written to Chief Justice Altamas Kabir on February 21 requesting him to refer to an IB report which has references to the “style of functioning’’ of Justice Cyriac. It apparently also had mentioned about the “delays’’ on the part of Justice Cyriac in delivering judgements.
The Sunday Standard