Justice Aftab Alam to head panel on Dinakaran impeachment

Justice Alam takes the place of Justice V S Sirpurkar, a senior Supreme Court judge, who had recused himself from hearing the case in the backdrop of questions raised on his neutrality by an advocacy group.

The recusal by Justice Sirpurkar led to the reconstitution of the inquiry panel by Rajya Sabha Chairman and Vice President Md Hamid Ansari.

The other members of the panel are Justice J S Khehar, Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court and P P Rao, senior advocate of the Supreme Court.

The committee headed by Justice Sirpurkar was appointed in January following a demand by 75 members of the Rajya Sabha.

Chennai-based Forum for Judicial Accountability, which has been spearheading a campaign against Justice Dinakaran, had objected to the continuance of Justice Sirpurkar in the panel.

It has contended that Sirpurkar has been closely associated with Justice Dinakaran when both of them were judges of the Madras High Court.

Allegations listed in the impeachment motion against Justice Dinakaran, now Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court, include possessing wealth disproportionate to known sources of income, unlawfully securing five housing board plots in the name of his wife and two daughters and entering into benami transactions.

The charges against him also include acquiring and possessing agricultural holdings beyond the ceiling limit. Justice Dinakaran has refuted the allegations.

Justice Dinakaran's recommendation for elevation to the apex court was dropped after allegations of land grabbing and misconduct surfaced. He was moved from the Karnataka High Court to the Sikkim High Court as Chief Justice.

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