The controversies surrounding Justice Dinakaran continues as the Chief Justice has created more dust and heat than the actual controversy of his misappropriations
The Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court, Justice Paul Daniel Dinakaran, is in midst of a storm of sorts ever since charges of corruption were alleged against him. In the most recent event, the Supreme Court Judge V S Sirpurkar, who was part of the three-member probe panel constituted to look into charges of corruption against Justice Dinakaran, has asked for being recused from the panel.
This development came after the Chennai-based Forum for Judicial Accountability (FJA) sent a letter (http://judicialreforms.org/files/CJAR_letter_to_Vice_President.pdf) to the Vice President Hamid Ansari requesting him to ask two of the three panelists close to Justice Dinkaran to recuse themselves from the inquiry committee. Justice Sirupurkar has sat on several benches and administrative committees with Justice Dinakaran during his tenure at the Chennai High Court from 1997 till 2003. The letter also mentioned his prejudgment of the issue citing his statements to several respected lawyers that he knows Justice Dinakaran well and that he was an independently wealthy and an honourable man.
The other member of the enquiry committee against whom similar request has been made is Shri P.P. Rao. He is said to have been officially consulted by Justice Dinakaran on the charges against him.
The 61-year-old Justice Dinakaran had been recommended for elevation to the Supreme Court in August, 2009. The government returned the recommendation in December, 2009 after several top jurists including Fali S. Nariman objected, questioning the wisdom of elevating a judge whose integrity was being doubted. Justice Dinakaran has not been performing judicial functions after a motion seeking his removal on charges of corruption and abuse of judicial office was admitted in the Rajya Sabha in December 2009.
The charges include possessing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income, unlawfully securing five housing board plots in the name of his wife and two daughters, entering into benami transactions and possessing agricultural holdings beyond the ceiling limit (Get full details of his assets at: http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?261852).
Justice Dinakaran has constantly denied the allegations. In March 2010 the Supreme Court Collegium asked Justice Dinakaran to proceed on leave, but he did not oblige. The Collegium then recommended his transfer to the Sikkim High Court. That has not been smooth either. Sikkim Bar Association first protested his transfer to Sikkim and when the Collegium sat on its decision, it boycotted his oath ceremony. The period after that have not been any good either for him.
It has been almost a year since the issue hit national headlines. Should Justice Dinakaran resign? Should he be sacked? Shouldn’t there be more transparency in the appointment of judges? Should a state like Sikkim be the dumping ground for tainted judges?
The questions are many but the fact remains that the opaque ways in which judiciary works need to be changed forever. The issue holds great significance especially when one of the most respected lawyers of the country and former law minister Shanti Bhushan says that eight out of sixteen former Chief Justices of the Supreme Court were corrupt. (http://www.indianexpress.com/news/8-cjis-corrupt-exlaw-minister-to-sc/682677/0)
Is hope the only hope of truth and justice in the world’s largest democracy?
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