Law Minister HR Bhardwaj on Wednesday disapproved of Chief Justice of India’s unprecedented decision to allow the CBI to question two sitting judges of the Punjab and Haryana HC in connection with the ‘cash-at-judge’s-house’ scam in Chandigarh.
Speaking at the Law Day function organised by the Supreme Court Bar Association, Bhardwaj said he was not in favour of the CBI or the police investigating cases against judges. “It must be avoided.”
Without mentioning KG Balakrishnan’s decision in the scam, he said all such cases should be handled by the CJI himself in the capacity of being the head of the judicial family and everybody should cooperate with him.
“Now there is a need to insulate the judiciary from all kinds of attacks….and the Bar should also cooperate.”
The CJI had also allowed the UP Police to question sitting judges through questionnaires in connection with the Ghaziabad PF scam involving 36 judges.
According to the SC’s ruling in Veeraswami’s case, the CJI’s permission is a must to examine any sitting judge of the SC or a high court in a criminal case.
National judicial panel
Minister of State for Law K Venkatapathy has favoured the establishment of a National Judicial Commission — of eminent persons from the judiciary, legislature and executive — saying it was of vital importance and “the sooner it is brought into being, the better”.
But Bhardwaj differs with him. According to him, the CJI’s primacy should be restored. “The CJI should be the indisputed leader of the judiciary.”