Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Judges sans integrity

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.


K.R.Srivarahan said...

Mr.Shanti Bhushan has made a baleful comment that the CJI is keen to elevate Justice Dinakaran probably because the latter also is a Dalit. It is a condemnable comment which we do not expect from a seasoned lawyer.
This apart, we expect the Supreme Court to expeditiously conduct an enquiry and elevate or sack the judge concerned forthwith.The issue is too serious to be allowed to drift. If the allegations are motivated, condign punishment should be meted out to persons making irresponsible charges.

Manikandan said...

I read your message. Being a Senior Lawyer, Mr. Shanthi Bhushan ought not have brought caste issue as this merely relates to acquistion of land alone. In the representation given by the Chennai Lawyers it is stated that the Judge has grabbed the land from the local people. Had it been like that, the local media would not have been a silent spectator but brought this to light long back. Moreover, the complainant stressed only about Land Ceiling aspect, but not disproporationate asset. If the allegations are motivated, then the persons responsible for this should be dealt with stringently, including the Senior Lawyers.

K.R.Srivarahan said...


I agree with what you are saying.As you rightly point out, if the allegation is true, what was the local fifth estate doing all along? If ultimately it is proved that the judge is not guilty of any wrong-doing or malafides, the complainants should be brought to justice. Let us hope truth will emerge.


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