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SC Order Lifting Stay on Impeachment Proceedings

SC Order Lifting Stay on Impeachment Proceedings

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Published by Raghul Sudheesh

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Published by: Raghul Sudheesh on Jul 06, 2011
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02/27/2012

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REPORTABLEIN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO.217 OF 2011Justice P.D. DinakaranPetitioner VersusHonble Judges Inquiry Committee and othersRespondentsJ U D G M E N TG.S. Singhvi, J.1.Although, the prayers made in this petition filed under Article 32 of the Constitution are for quashing order dated24.4.2011 passed by the Committee constituted by the Chairman ofthe Council of States (Rajya Sabha) under Section 3(2) of theJudges (Inquiry) Act, 1968 (for short, “the Act”) and for grant ofa declaration that the proceedings conducted by the Committee on24.4.2011 are null and void, the tenor of the grounds on whichthese prayers are founded shows that the petitioner is alsoaggrieved by the inclusion of respondent No.3-Shri P.P. Rao, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India in the Committee under Section3(2)(c) of the Act.2.Fifty members of the Rajya Sabha submitted a notice of motionfor presenting an address to the President of India for removal of
 
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the petitioner, who was then posted as Chief Justice of theKarnataka High Court, under Article 217 read with Article 124(4) ofthe Constitution of India. The notice enumerated the acts of misbehaviour allegedly committed by the petitioner and wasaccompanied by an explanatory note and documents in support of theallegations. After the motion was admitted, the Chairman of theRajya Sabha (hereinafter referred to as, the Chairman)constituted a Committee comprising Mr. Justice V.S. Sirpurkar,Judge, Supreme Court of India, Mr. Justice A.R. Dave, the thenChief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court and respondent No.3.3.Immediately after issue of notification dated 15.1.2010 underSection 3(2) of the Act, the newspapers carried reports suggestingthat there was an objection to the inclusion of respondent No.3 inthe Committee on the ground that he had given legal opinion to the petitioner in December, 2009. On reading the newspaper reports,respondent No.3 sent letter dated 19.1.2010 to the Chairman withthe request that he may be relieved from the Committee. Paragraph2 of that letter reads as under:“Although, there is no conflict of duty and interest, asI did not render any professional service to him, thereis a demand from certain quarters for my recusal whichyou might have noticed in today’s Hindustan Times. I asure you will appreciate that justice should not only bedone but also seen to be done. Even though I have noofficial communication as yet about my nomination, itwill not be proper for me to function as a member of theCommittee in the fact of such objection. I request youto kindly relieve me forthwith and nominate anotherjurist in my place and oblige.”
 
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4.After due consideration, the Chairman declined to accept therequest of respondent No.3 and asked him to continue as member ofthe Committee. Thereupon, respondent No.3 sent letter dated21.1.2010 and agreed to accept the assignment. On that very day,Convenor of the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform sent a letter to the Vice-President wherein a demand was made inthe garb of making suggestion that Mr. Justice V.S. Sirpurkarshould recuse from the Committee because he had association withthe petitioner as a Judge of the Madras High Court from 1997 to2003. Similar suggestion-cum-demand was made qua respondent No.3 by stating that the petitioner had consulted respondent No.3 andthe latter had advised him to get a commission of inquiry appointedto go into the charges.5.On being instructed by the Chairman, the Secretary General ofthe Rajya Sabha forwarded a copy of the aforesaid letter torespondent No.3. In his response dated 27.1.2010, respondent No.3detailed the background in which the petitioner had met him on6.12.2009 and what transpired between them. The relevant paragraphs of that letter read as under:“I would like to place on record as to why Chief JusticeDinakaran met me at my residence with prior appointmenton Sunday, the 6
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December, 2009 at 02:30 p.m. OnSaturday, 28 Nov ’09, there was a day-long NationalSeminar organized by The Bar Association of India underthe Presidentship of Shri F.S. Nariman to discuss the problems of the Judiciary, in which the Hon’ble Law Minister also participated briefly in the inauguralsession. I am one of the Vice-Presidents. In the courseof my speech, I demanded that the Collegium should not proceed further with the recommendation to bring ChiefJustice P.D. Dinakaran to the Supreme Court and there

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