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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

CJIs reluctant to expose corruption in judiciary: Katju

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 10, 2014
First Published: 23:49 IST(10/8/2014) | Last Updated: 12:25 IST(11/8/2014)

Press Council of India chairman and former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju has highlighted the issue of corruption in judiciary in a fresh blog that could trigger another controversy at a time the government is considering a new bill for the appointment of judges in higher courts.

Katju alleged in his blog on Sunday night that a high court judge was transferred to Allahabad high court, despite having a bad reputation "about his integrity".

Katju, who had recently indicated that three former Chief Justices of India (CJI) had compromised in giving extension to an additional judge of Madras high court at the instance of the UPA government, also wrote that the then CJI, SH Kapadia, knew about the Allahabad judge.

Read: Uproar in Parliament as Katju alleges ally pressured UPA govt to protect corrupt judge


"Justice Kapadia requested me to find out the true facts about that Judge (I was then a Judge of the Supreme Court)," Katju wrote.

In an earlier blog, Katju had trained his guns on a "corrupt judge" in Tamil Nadu who later became the additional judge of Madras high court, while pointing at his ties with an influential UPA ally, apparently the DMK.

The allegation triggered a huge debate, as former CJI Ramesh Chandra Lahoti contradicted Katju's claims of writing to him on the issue.

In his fresh salvo, Katju said he helped Kapadia expose the Allahabad high court judge, but no tough action was on the matter.

"At that time I had to go to Allahabad, my home town for attending a function, and while there I contacted some lawyers I knew, and got 3 mobile numbers of the agents of this Judge through whom he was taking money. On returning to Delhi I gave these 3 mobile numbers to Justice Kapadia, and suggested that he get these numbers tapped through intelligence agencies.

"About 2 months thereafter Justice Kapadia told me that he had done as I had suggested, and the conversations tapped revealed the corruption of this Judge," Katju wrote.

Katju said Kapadia did not call for the judge's resignation despite having enough evidence against him, but he also did not allow the man in question to become the chief justice of any high court or a Supreme Court judge.

"Most Chief Justices of India are reluctant to expose corruption in the judiciary thinking that this will defame the judiciary, and so they prefer to bury corruption under the carpet, not realizing that the bulge under the carpet will show."

Katju once again dragged Lahoti into the controversy, saying he had informed the former CJI about the names of five other judges of Allahabad high court "who were doing shocking things".

The Press Council of India chairman added he had proposed barring them from entering the court, but Lahoti objected to it.

"Please do not do this, because then the politicians will get a handle, and then they will set up a National Judicial Commission," Lahoti was quoted by Katju as saying.

Katju added even though some of the five judges were transferred to another high court, it was no solution.

Katju's allegations came against the backdrop of the government considering introducing a bill that aims to set up a seven-member judicial appointment commission to replace the collegium system of appointment of judges.

The commission would include three to four judges, two jurists to be nominated by the President and the law minister as members.


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