The Rajya Sabha Saturday announced formation of a three-member judicial panel headed by Justice V.S. Sirpurkar of the Supreme Court to probe the allegations of land grabbing against Karnataka High Court's Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran.
The two other members on the probe panel are Andhra Pradesh High Court's Chief Justice A.R. Dave and noted jurist P.P. Rao. Justice Dinakaran is facing impeachment proceeding for his alleged acts of judicial misconduct.
The committee constituted under the Judges (Inquiry) Act would "make an investigation into the grounds on which the removal of Justice Paul Daniel Dinakaran Premkumar, chief justice of the Karnataka High Court, is prayed for," a Rajya Sabha notification said Saturday.
The Rajya Sabha set the impeachment proceedings against Justice Dinakaran in motion after receipt of a complaint against him, duly signed by 75 members of the upper house.
The upper house members, who signed the complaint against Justice Dinakaran, included those from the Bharatiya Janata Party, Left parties, the Samajwadi Party, the Janata Dal (United), the Akali Dal and the AIADMK.
The Rajya Sabha announced formation of a committee nearly a month after Vice President and Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari received the complaint, seeking launch of elaborate impeachment proceedings for removal of Justice Dinakaran.
Formation of a judicial panel to probe the allegations against the judge is one of the first steps to the impeachment proceedings.
Dinakaran has denied the allegations and claimed that they were "without any substance or without any basis."
The 55-page notice, issued by the Rajya Sabha listed 12 alleged acts of judicial misconduct and impropriety by Justice Dinakaran.
Under the Constitution, judges of the Supreme Court and the high courts can be removed only through impeachment in parliament.
Justice Dinakaran is only the third judge to face impeachment proceedings in the history of the country's judiciary.
On a recommendation by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan, endorsed by the government, the Rajya Sabha last year formed a similar three-member judicial panel to probe the charges of misappropriation of the court's fund by Kolkata High Court judge Soumitra Sen.
Earlier in the 'nineties, an impeachment proceeding against the Supreme Court's Justice V. Ramaswamy had fallen through when the motion was not carried in the Lok Sabha.
Justice Dinakaran stands accused of possessing wealth exceeding his legal income, unlawfully securing five housing board plots in the name of his wife and two daughters, entering into benami transactions, and acquiring and possessing agricultural holdings beyond ceiling limit.
Other allegations include grabbing government land and public property to deprive Dalits and poor of their livelihood, violation of human rights of Dalits and poor, and destruction of evidence during official enquiry.
He has also been accused of passing wrong and dishonest judicial orders in matters where he had personal and direct pecuniary interest.