Former Supreme Court judge and Chairman of Press Council of India Markandey Katju stirred a controversy on Monday by alleging that three ex-Chief Justices of India had compromised in giving extension to an additional judge of Madras High court at the instance of UPA government in the wake of pressure from one of its allies, apparently DMK.
Katju made the charge while alleging how the three former CJIs–Justices R.C. Lahoti, Y.K. Sabharwal and K.G. Balakrishnan–had made “improper 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 continued it. These are CJIs who can surrender. Is a CJI going to surrender to political pressure or not going to surrender to political pressure?” Katju, told NDTV.
Katju said since he got many reports that the additional judge concerned was allegedly indulging in corruption and I had requested t then CJI Lahoti to get a secret IB inquiry against that judge.
He claimed that the IB report found the allegations to be true against the judge and he should have been sacked but it had not happened so.
Katju said since the two-year term as additional judge of that person was coming to an end and I presumed that alleged judge would be discontinued as judge.
“But to my utter shock I came to know he was been given another extension when an adverse IB report was there,” he said.
Katju said he came to know that the reason for all this was that at that time the UPA-I government was dependent on allies and one of them was a Tamil Nadu party, an apparent reference to DMK, whose leader was given bail by the additional judge concerned.
The leader of the Tamil Nadu party was a solid supporter of the additional judge who had given him bail, he said.
Katju said the matter had come to a three-judge collegium of the apex court of which Lahoti and Sabharwal were among the members and it was recommended that the district judge should not be continued in office.
He said on coming to know of the recommendation of collegium the Tamil Nadu-based party reportedly objected to it.
Katju targeted the UPA government and said that I have the information when Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh was informed about this matter at the airport when he was leaving for New York to attend the UN General Assembly session.
At the Delhi airport, PM was told by ministers of the Tamil Nadu party that by the time he returned from New York his government would have fallen as their party would withdraw support to the UPA (for not continuing that additional judge). Katju, however, said he had no personal knowledge about this.
Katju said ally of UPA and party form Tamil Nadu was backing this “corrupt judge”.