Bid to impeach Dinakaran set in motion

SC judge Sirpurkar to head panel
Last Updated 16 January 2010, 19:55 IST
Bid to impeach Dinakaran  set in motion

His removal has been sought by 75 members of the Rajya Sabha over judicial impropriety and land-grabbing allegations in his home state of Tamil Nadu.

Justice A R Dave, Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court and noted jurist P P Rao are the other members of the Committee, which has been constituted by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari, it was announced on Saturday.

Justice Sirpurkar, the 9th senior most judge of the Supreme Court, hails from Maharashtra and was chief justice of Uttaranchal High Court before his elevation to the apex court in 2007.

Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan had recommended the names of two Supreme Court judges and two high court chief justices to Vice-President Ansari for selecting one each to the panel.

The Committee constituted under the Judges (Inquiry) Act would “make an investigation into the grounds on which the removal of Mr Justice Paul Daniel Dinakaran Premkumar, Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court is prayed for,” a Rajya Sabha notification said.
The announcement of the Committee comes more than a month after Ansari admitted a notice of the motion by 75 Opposition MPs to start impeachment proceedings against Dinakaran.

MPs’ petition

The MPs belonging to the BJP, Left parties, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (United), Akali Dal and AIADMK submitted the petition to Ansari seeking impeachment of Justice Dinakaran, whose elevation to the Supreme Court has already been put on hold following allegations of grabbing of land by him and his family members in Tamil Nadu.
Dinakaran has denied the allegations and claimed these were “without any substance or without any basis”.

The 55-page notice lists 12 acts of alleged misbehaviour by Justice Dinakaran. Under the Constitution, judges of the Supreme Court and high courts can be removed only through impeachment in Parliament.

An impeachment process against a Supreme Court judge Justice V Ramaswamy in the early nineties fell through when the motion was not carried in the Lok Sabha.

Allegations listed in the impeachment motion against Justice Dinakaran include possessing wealth disproportionate to known sources of income, unlawfully securing five housing board plots in the name of his wife and two daughters, entering into benami transactions, and acquiring and possessing agricultural holdings beyond ceiling limit.
Other allegations related to illegal encroachment on government and public property to deprive the Dalits and poor of their livelihood and violation of their human rights and destruction of evidence during official enquiry.

Dishonest orders

Accusing the judge of abusing his judicial office, the motion alleged that Justice Dinakaran passed dishonest judicial orders in matters where he had personal and direct pecuniary interest.

Ever since the issue hotted up, Dinakaran has been restrained by Chief Justice of India Balakrishnan from presiding over the bench in the high court, though he continues to attend to other judicial matters.

A three-member committee is already going into the issue of impeachment of Calcutta High Court judge Soumitra Sen over alleged judicial misconduct.

(Published 16 January 2010, 09:42 IST)

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