The Supreme Court on Monday told the government to let it know if any probe had been conducted into allegations that National Human Rights Commission chairman and former chief justice of India KG Balakrishnan amassed assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.
"We want to know what was done on the representation (to the government against Balakrishnan) and what the government intends to do," a bench headed by Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia said after it was pointed out that no action had been taken for the past 10 months.
The court was hearing a petition by NGO Common Cause seeking directions to the government to conduct a probe against the former CJI for allegedly amassing properties worth of R40 crore in his relatives’ names during his stint at the apex court.
HT first reported that Balakrishnan’s son-in-law PV Sreenijan bought expensive properties valued more than his known sources of income in Kerala and Tamil Nadu on December 26, 2010.
The bench asked attorney general GE Vahanvati to inform it within a month what action the government had taken or intended to take on the matter. As Vahanvati said he would go through the petition and write to all government authorities concerned, the court fixed March 12 for further hearing.
Balakrishnan, who was appointed as a Supreme Court judge in June 2000, went on to become the CJI in January 2007. He retired in May 2010 and was later appointed NHRC chairman.
The petitioner submitted copies of media reports to support its allegations that 'benami' properties were acquired by Balakrishnan’s relatives.
The NGO sought a direction to the union home ministry to make a reference to the SC under the Human Rights Act to probe the allegations of “misbehaviour” against the NHRC chief.
"Despite the fact that there is overwhelming evidence indicating that Respondent No. 3 (Balakrishnan) has been guilty of several acts of grave misbehaviour, the government has not taken any step for his removal from the NHRC," the NGO said in its petition filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan.