He says 3 former chief justices gave extension to an additional judge of Madras high court at the instance of UPA under pressure from DMK
New Delhi: Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju, currently chairman of the Press Council of India, has alleged corruption in the apex court, saying three ex-chief justices of India (CJI) had compromised in giving extension to an additional judge of Madras high court at the instance of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in the wake of pressure from one of its allies, apparently the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK).
Katju levelled the charge while alleging how the three former CJIs—justices R.C. Lahoti, Y.K. Sabharwal and K.G. Balakrishnan—had made “imroper compromises" in allowing the judge, against whom there were several allegations of corruption, to continue in office.
“These three former CJIs made improper compromises. Justice Lahoti, who started it, then justice Sabharwal and then justice Balakrishnan. These are CJIs who can surrender. Is a CJI going to surrender to political pressure or not going to surrender to political pressure?" Katju, who became the chief justice of Madras high court in November 2004, told NDTV news channel. The Times of India on Monday carried an article by Katju on the same matter.
Katju later became a Supreme Court judge. He said since he got many reports that the additional judge concerned was allegedly indulging in corruption. He had requested the then CJI Lahoti to get a secret Intelligence Bureau (IB) inquiry made about him.
Balakrishnan, however, hit back at Katju, terming his allegations “completely baseless". Wondering why Katju raised the issue after so many years, Balakrishnan said the concerned judge, who has since passed away, was given an extension strictly in line with the laid-down procedure and that it was not done under any pressure from any quarters. “It is completely baseless. It is not factually correct," Balakrishnan told Press Trust of India. Justices Lahoti and Sabharwal did not respond to Katju’s allegations.
“In confirmation of a judge, what is improper compromise.... After 10 years, he makes these (allegations) and that too when that gentleman is no more," Balakrishnan said.
Congress, meanwhile, steered clear of the controversy. “Keeping in mind the sensitivity, we reserve our right as of now to react," party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi told reporters.