Says procedure was followed while extending term of late judge

New Delhi : Former chief justice of India K G Balakrishnan hit back at Press Council of India (PCI) chairman Markandey Katju, terming as ‘completely baseless’ his allegations that he (Balakrishnan) and two other ex-CJIs made ‘improper compromises’ in retaining a Tamil Nadu judge under corruption cloud during UPA.

Wondering why Katju, a former Supreme Court Judge, raised the issue after so many years, Balakrishnan said that the judge concerned, who had passed away, was given extension strictly following the procedure and that it was not done under pressure from any quarter.

“It is completely baseless. It is not factually correct,” the former Chief Justice of India, one of the three CJIs whom Katju had accused of improper compromises said.

The two other CJIs, Justices R C Lahoti and Y K Sabharwal, did not respond to Katju’s allegations.

“In confirmation of a judge, what is improper compromise? … After 10 years, he makes these (allegations) and that too when that gentleman is no more,” Balakrishnan said.  Katju alleged that the three former CJIs –Justices R C Lahoti, Y K Sabharwal and K G Balakrishnan — made ‘improper compromises’ and ‘succumbed to political pressure’ in allowing the judge to continue despite an ‘adverse’ Intelligence Bureau (IB) report on allegations of corruption against him.

Balakrishnan, currently chairperson of National Human Rights Commission, however, said that there were allegations against the judge that he had some ‘acquaintances’ with the ruling party in Tamil Nadu and that was why he had transferred him to Andhra Pradesh.

Meanwhile, former Union minister Shashi Tharoor said that the issue should not be discussed in Parliament as Article 121 of the Constitution forbids it. “We cannot discuss the issue in Parliament, as Article 121 of the Constitution condemns us to take up any discussion on a judge. Even we do not want such issues to be taken up in Parliament,” said Tharoor.

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