Buta's stand on Dinakaran draws flak

Bar Council, legal fraternity oppose SC panel chiefs stance on Karnataka CJ


Bar Council of India (BCI) chairman Suraj Narain Prasad Sinha said nobody had objected to his elevation to the Supreme Court as he was a Dalit. “He holds such a high post. He was not made a judge because he was a Dalit. He (Buta Singh) should not divide the country on the basis of caste,” he said over the phone.

Former Union law minister and senior advocate Shanti Bhushan said: “The issue is not of a Dalit or a non-Dalit. The allegations (against Justice Dinakaran) are pretty serious.”

Clarifying his stand on Buta Singh’s statement on the controversy, Bhushan said “the Chief Justice of India is also a Dalit. Nobody objected to his appointment or elevation to the CJI post. Nobody is anti-Dalit.”

The Madras High Court and the Karnataka High Court bar associations have raised serious allegations against Justice Dinakaran, which needed to be looked into before a decision was taken, said Bhushan.

“We have respect for the Dalits. We are also fighting a case before the Supreme Court to give SC status to Dalit Christians. Nobody can accuse us of being anti-Dalit. The person who rakes up such an issue has lost his mind and is of totally unsound mind,” he said.

Sinha said the matter was pending before the Supreme Court collegium and the legal fraternity was opposing his elevation due to some serious allegations against him.

Faith in judiciary

The BCI, the highest policy-making body of the legal fraternity, is in favour of persons with clean antecedents occupying the highest chairs of the judiciary. The people of this country have immense faith in judiciary and it should be upheld at any cost, he said.

Singh, who is embroiled in a corruption controversy involving his son, charged the Manmohan Singh government with encouraging anti-Dinakaran protesters to stall his promotion.

Unfortunately, the Union government was keeping silence giving sufficient room to the media to play upon the constitutional rights of the SCs as guaranteed in the Constitution, he said.

Singh said: “An anti-Scheduled Caste campaign has been started by the casteist people to stall the elevation. There is nothing against him (Justice Dinakaran).”
Asked if the elevation was stalled by the Supreme Court collegium, or the government, what action would the commission take, Singh said: “I would issue notice to the government taking suo motu cognizance or on the representations received on behalf of Dinakaran,” he said.

He countered the arguments of Bhushan who said that the legal fraternity did not oppose CJI Balakrishnan. “He is on merit. He is one of the best judges of our country. How could any one oppose him,” Singh asked.

In a statement, the NCSC had said the campaign was motivated by caste bias against Justice Dinakaran who belongs to the Scheduled Caste. It said the campaign was carried out by “anti-Dalit and casteist elements in the Bar Council of India, the Bars of states and judicial activists who are known for having casteist attitude towards the increasing strength of SC/STs in the judicial services of the country.”
The commission said “if the tirade against the SCs in the judiciary is not stopped, the commission will be duty-bound to take stock of the situation which has arisen from the unabashed and continuous campaign of vilification against CJI K G Balakrishnan and Justice Dinakaran.”

There is a very remote chance of a decision on the fate of Justice Dinakaran taken before the second week of October, as CJI Balakrishnan is in Australia till September 29 and Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily is in England till October 4.

The SC collegium is awaiting a response from the government on the representation given to the president, the prime minister and Moily by eminent lawyers, the SC Bar, the Delhi High Court Bar, the Karnataka High Court Bar and the Madras High Court Bar associations.

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