Impeachment of Dinakaran sought

Impeachment of Dinakaran sought

A constitutional body for the appointment of judges should be established: Prashanth Bhushan

At a seminar on 'Appointment and retirement of Judges' organised by the Karnataka Forum for Judicial Accountability, (KFJA), Prashanth Bhushan said that the Chief Justice of India appointed committee to probe into the allegation of amassing wealth disproportionate to CJ Dinakaran's known source of income was against the Judges Inquiry Act and would not be able to achieve its end.

In his over 30-minute speech, Bhushan said allegations against the Chief Justice could be categorised into three sets. "The first set of allegations and documented evidence include the acquisition of land over 300 acres, exceeding the ceiling limit and fencing of over 150 acres belonging to village panchayat. The second set of charge is about the acquisition of a large number of urban properties, including the acquisition of land in Ooty in August 2009, and property purchased in the name of his mother-in-law," he said.

He further added "the third set of allegation is on the misuse of judicial office, where all the mining cases of Bellary were transferred to the principal bench from the Circuit bench in the guise of green bench. Here, even a petition of a mining company whose lease had expired in 1985 and seeking to recover the mined material of 1.72 lakh tonnes from his leased area after 25 years was allowed to do so," he pointed out.

He said that the Chief Justice of India appointed committee could not probe into these issues. "We have the supportive documentary evidence and the only option left is impeaching him by getting sufficient signatures from the members of the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha," he said.

Speaking on the selection process of the judges involving Chief Justice Dinakaran, he said that there was a need for different procedure to be adopted for the appointment as well as for the probe into the corruption charges against judges. "A full time constitutional body should deal with this. It has to acquire the status of independent investigative agency free from political interference. The body should decide and act against judges, if their integrity is questioned," he suggested.

Bhushan, against whom the Supreme Court has granted permission to file contempt of court proceedings, said that the Chairman to the body should be nominated by the Supreme Court judges with a term of five years.

On the appointment of judges, Bhushan said that no system is devised to assess the integrity. "The matter needs a debate as even a report by Intelligence Bureau (IB) can be biased. An IB report regarding the advocate stating that he is an alcoholic prevented him from becoming the judge in Delhi High Court for about five years, despite the fact he was a teetotaller," he recalled.

Saying that the collegium could not decide on the integrity of the judge, he claimed that out of the five members in the collegium, four did not know the integrity of Dinakaran.

Senior counsel Subramanya Jois, in his speech, emphasised on transparency in appointing the judges. He said that the entire process does not follow a yardstick. "Even the appointment of bureaucrats and class IV employees has some yardstick. But here, ten years in a bar is qualification enough to be made a judge," he said.