Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sikkim Chief-justice Dinakaran objects to panel investigating him

New Delhi: Sikkim Chief Justice P D Dinakaran, facing impeachment proceedings for alleged misconduct, today sought recusal of senior advocate P P Rao from the three-member Rajya Sabha-appointed inquiry panel on the ground that he was biased.

Justice Dinakaran also in his reply to the chargesheet framed against him said that the panel has "exceeded the jurisdiction" and was acting in an "unconstitutional" manner by leveling allegations that had no nexus to the discharge of his judicial and administrative duties.

According to the beleaguered judge, the panel was acting in contravention of Article 124 and 121 by raking up personal issues against the judge and his family although the said Constitutional provisions expressly barred any such reference of a high court or Supreme Court judge's personal life.

Further, counsel Mesharam sought recusal of P P Rao from the committee on the ground that he was one of the members of a delegation which in 2009 had met the then Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan to oppose Justice Dinakaran's elevation to the Supreme Court.

The committee, comprising Justice Aftab Alam of the Supreme Court, Karnataka High Court Chief Justice J S Khehar and senior advocate P P Rao, has asked Dinakaran to respond to the sixteen charges framed against him by April 20. The panel was appointed by Rajya Sabha chairperson Hamid Ansari after the house initiated impeachment motion against him. The committee, which issued the chargesheet to Dinakaran in March and asked him to respond by April 9, has made it clear that it will commence the hearing in the matter on April 25 and will not give any further adjournment.

The charges against Justice Dinakaran, who is facing impeachment proceedings in Parliament, include possession of wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income and illegal encroachment on public property and land belonging to Dalits and other weaker sections.

He is also accused of having five Tamil Nadu Housing Board plots in the name of his wife and two daughters, benami transactions, acquiring and possessing agricultural holdings beyond the ceiling fixed by the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms Act 1961, destruction of evidence, undervaluation of sale agreements, evasion of stamp duty and illegal constructions.

Justice Dinakaran has also been accused of resorting to irregular and dishonest administrative actions by fixing rosters of judges to facilitate dishonest judicial decisions while he was the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court. He has also been charged with undertaking transfers of judges and appointment of staff illegally, sources said.

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