The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld the charges against Sikkim high court Chief Justice PD Dinakaran, who is facing impeachment proceedings for alleged corruption and misconduct.
A bench headed by Justice GS Singhvi, however, gave partial relief to justice Dinakaran by asking Rajya Sabha chairman Hamid Ansari to replace senior advocate PP Rao as one of the members of the panel probing into the allegations against him. Justice Dinakaran had expressed apprehension of bias against him with Rao’s inclusion in the committee as the senior advocate had led a group of lawyers opposing Justice Dinakaran’s elevation as SC judge before Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan (since retired).
Reconstitution of the committee is likely to delay the inquiry proceedings against Justice Dinakaran. This could benefit the Sikkim CJ, who is to retire in May next year.
The SC concluded that Justice Dinakaran’s belated move to challenge Rao’s inclusion in the panel was a “calculated” move on his part to delay the proceedings. The bench clarified that its order to re-constitute the committee would not hamper the proceedings as the new panel “shall proceed on the charges already framed against the judge.”
“We hold that belated raising of objection against inclusion of Rao in the committee appears to be a calculated move. He (Dinakaran) is an intelligent person and knows that the presiding officer of the committee is required to forward the report within a period of three months from the date the charges framed under Section 3(3) of the Act were served upon him. Therefore, he wants to adopt every possible tactic to delay the submission of the report,” the bench observed.
The Rajya Sabha chairman in January 2010 constituted a panel headed by SC judge Aftab Alam. Karnataka HC Chief Justice JS Khehar and Rao were appointed as its members.
The three-member panel was to examine the 12 charges framed in the notice of motion adopted by the House.