A shocking news item has appeared in The Hindu today (16th Sept). It is alleged that one of the judges (Justice P.D.Dinakaran presently Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court) whose name has been recommended for elevation to the Supreme Court by a Supreme Court collegium consisting of 5 judges of the Supreme Court has amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. Senior lawyers Fali Nariman and Shanti Bhushan have represented to CJI on the basis of a detailed complaint from several lawyers based in Chennai. Justice Dinakaran has denied the allegations.
Mr.Dinakaran was appointed a permanent judge of the Madras High Court in December 1996 at the age of 46. He became Chief Justice of the Karnataka HC in August 2008. It is too early to say whether the allegations are correct or only motivated and devoid of truth. It is quite likely that his elevation to the Supreme Court will be in limbo for some time.
In case his integrity is suspect, some interesting issues arise. As Chief Justice of a High Court , his term will expire in 2012 only. Would he be asked to step down before that? In case he is asked to go, would he oblige? Would our impeachment mechanism work effectively? Is our judicial system incompetent enough to accommodate a judge of doubtful integrity for 13 long years? Are the Supreme Court judges so bereft of any intelligence mechanism that they are not aware of the state of integrity of the Chief Justice of a High Court? Or, are they succumbing to any pressure, political or otherwise? The nation cries for an answer.