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HindustanTimes Thu,02 Oct 2014

Spot-the-judge game begins in Chennai

KV Lakshmana, Hindustan Times  Chennai, July 22, 2014
First Published: 00:27 IST(22/7/2014) | Last Updated: 00:28 IST(22/7/2014)

Legal circles here are more or less sure who could be the additional judge in the Madras high court that justice Markandey Katju targeted in his article, but there was no clarity on the acting chief justice who allegedly got eight adverse comments against the judge deleted.

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Justice Katju wrote that the deletion of the comments helped the additional judge get extension of service and eventually a promotion. Sources in the HC said since the files and notations were classified documents and were with the Union law ministry, only justice Katju and the ministry could say what exactly the notations were and who got them deleted.

Since Monday, when the media broke the retired Supreme Court judge’s remarks on the inner functioning of the judiciary, a guessing game began to ascertain as to who could be the judge accused of corruption by justice Katju.

Deducing the name of the judge, however, proved to be easy as justice Katju, without naming the judge, left enough clues in his article to identify him. Since the article obliquely narrated how the person, as a district judge in June 2001, helped DMK chief M Karunanidhi, only one name cropped up. 

Legal lore has it that justice Satiago Ashok Kumar, then a district judge, lambasted the police when Karunanidhi was presented before him around 4am in the morning. Karunanidhi had been arrested at midnight in a corruption case. During the bail hearing, justice Kumar asked the police: “What was the pressure on you to arrest a 78-year-old man suffering from various ailments?”

In April 2003, he was appointed as an additional judge of the Madras high court. DMK was then a part of the NDA formation. In 2004, it crossed over to the UPA and was its most powerful ally.


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