The beleaguered Sikkim high court chief justice PD Dinakaran got a relief on Friday, as the Supreme Court stayed the impeachment proceedings against him.
A three-member Rajya Sabha-appointed panel is probing into the allegations of judicial misconduct and corruption against justice Dinakaran. The Supreme Court judge justice Aftab Alam heads the panel. The other members are Karnataka high court chief justice Kehar and senior advocate PP Rao.
The SC bench of justice HS Bedi and justice CK Prasad also issued notice to the Rajya Sabha chairman, the probe panel's registrar general and Rao on justice Dinakaran's petition challenging the constitution of the panel. His plea requesting Rao to recuse was rejected by the panel.
The petitioner's counsel senior advocate Amarendra Sharan said his client had apprehensions of a biased probe due to the Rao's presence.
Sharan added Rao had led a delegation of lawyers which had met the erstwhile Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan in 2009 to oppose his elevation to the SC."This is a case of absolute bias. Day-to-day proceedings are taking place and charges framed are beyond the resolution and material supplied to the panel," Sharan contended before the bench.
The court, however, responded: "There is no absolute bias. The panel has also held that you had earlier agreed to the appointment." But, when Sharan added that there was an apprehension, the bench replied: “That is why we are issuing notice.” The court gave two weeks time to the respondents to file their replies.
Justice Dinakaran's second petition challenging the panel's power to frame extra charges against him was tagged alongwith the first petition. The bench declined to issue notice on it.