Decision on Dinakaran likely to be delayed

Decision on Dinakaran likely to be delayed

It is not a small issue, says Law Minister Veerappa Moily

The ball is now in the court of the Union government as the SC collegium, consisting of five senior judges and headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI), K G Balakrishnan, has forwarded its recommendation to the government.

Indicating that a government decision on the issue may take time, and that it is not in a hurry, Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily on Tuesday told Deccan Herald: “I cannot say when we will decide the issue. Various procedures are involved before we arrive at a decision.”

According to the procedure, the government will have to either forward the names to the president for approval and appointment, or return it to the collegium for reconsideration. If the proposal is returned, then the collegium will be forced to reconsider the issue all over again. The proposal is to promote Dinakaran and four other state chief justices to SC judges.

Sounding a little upset over the controversy, Moily said: “It is not a small issue. It is an appointment to the highest judiciary in the country. Indian judiciary has the highest credibility in the world.”

Moily himself will not be in the capital as he will be visiting Karnataka and thereafter London before returning to Delhi on October 4. Also, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be away as he has to attend the G20 summit in the United States.

The CJI is currently touring Australia with an official delegation. It is unlikely that the government will come to a conclusion in the absence of these key decision-makers. The Dinakaran issue has led to a huge controversy in the capital with senior advocates alleging that he has acquired assets disproportionate to his known sources of income, and that he has been involved in other irregularities. Justice Dinakaran has denied the allegation, saying that he belonged to a rich agrarian family, and that he did not indulge in any corrupt practices. He also said he had acquired the assets before becoming a judge.

The issue took a serious turn as the forum for judicial accountability took up the issue raised by some senior advocates of the Madras High Court and sent a representation to the president and the prime minister as well as CJI after seeking their intervention in the matter.  The representation was signed by legal luminaries including Shanti Bhushan and Fali S Nariman.

Also, the Supreme Court Bar Association and the Delhi High Court Bar Association submitted a representation to Moily against Dinakaran’s elevation. The Advocates’ Association of Bangalore has urged him not to preside over the bench till he is cleared of the allegations. The advocates also wanted Karnataka Lokayukta N Santosh Hegde (a former SC judge) to “probe the integrity and reputation of Justice Dinakaran.”