Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari has reconstituted the panel probing allegations of corruption against the Karnataka High Court Chief Justice, PD Dinakaran.
The Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice JS Khehar will replace former Bombay High Court Chief Justice AR Dave in the panel, since Dave has been promoted to the Supreme Court, according to a notification issued by Ansari’s office.
The three-member panel set-up by Ansari is headed by Justice VS Sirpurkar of the Supreme Court. The third member of the panel is veteran lawyer, PP Rao.
The change in the panel became necessary since Judges Inquiry Act, 1968, makes it clear that the probe panel will comprise a Supreme Court judge, a high court chief justice and an eminent jurist.
Ansari had formed the probe panel in January after admitting a motion seeking impeachment (removal) of Justice Dinakaran by 75 Rajya Sabha MPs in December last year.
The panel is yet to begin its probe five months after it was set-up, though it has informally met twice to work out the modalities for the inquiry.
Top jurists and judicial accountability activists are preparing to challenge the composition of the panel, on the ground that Justice Sirpurkar and Rao, both, were close to Justice Dinakaran and should have opted out of the probe.
Justice Dinakaran got into trouble following his name being recommended for promotion to the SC by a collegium in August 2009.
Top jurists, led by Fali S. Nariman, Ram Jethmalani and Shanti Bhushan objected to his name, citing allegations of corruption and land grabbing.
After three months of dilly-dallying, the government rejected the collegium’s suggestion, but failed to persuade the opposition from moving an impeachment motion against him.