Two days after former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju made serious allegations on the judicial system, Press Council of India Chairman Katju has taken the fight forward with an another blog post that poses questions to Justice Lahoti. The Parliament has witnessed a huge uproar over the allegations made by Katju on his blog. Katju had alleged that the appointment of a District Judge was on the basis of political choice and not merit. Katju described the political nexus in the judiciary system as to how a district judge was promoted on a behest of a political party, who was also an important ally to then incumbent United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
Markandey’s Katju’s revelation came under sever scrutiny as many questioned his timing of the statement. While former Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan termed the charges as ‘completely baseless’, Justice Lahoti wasn’t left behind in responding to severe allegations made against him. Justice Lahoti in his reply to Katju’s remark said, “Whatever I have done or not done as a CJI is all on record with reasons.” Lahoti further added, “I have never done anything wrong in my life.”
The statement issued by Justice Lahoti didn’t go down well with Markandey Katju. A day after the controversy gained momentum, Katju has put life in his allegations against Lahoti. In another post on his blog, Katju has asked Justice Lahoti a set of six specific questions:
1. Is it , or is it not, correct that I first wrote him a letter from Chennai, stating that there were serious allegations of corruption about an Additional Judge of Madras High Court, and therefore he ( Justice Lahoti ) should get a secret intelligence enquiry held against that Additional Judge, and thereafter I personally met Justice Lahoti at Delhi and again requested for a secret IB enquiry against the Additional Judge about whom I had received several complaints, and from several sources, that he was indulging in corruption ?
2. Is it, or is it not, correct that on my request Justice Lahoti ordered a secret IB enquiry against that Judge?
3. Is it, or is it not correct, that a few weeks after I personally met him in Delhi and then returned to Chennai, he telephoned me from Delhi ( while I was at Chennai ) and told me that the IB, after thorough enquiry, gave a report that indeed the Judge was indulging in corruption ?
4. Is it, or is it not, correct that after receiving the adverse IB report against the Additional Judge, Justice Lahoti, who was then Chief Justice of India, called a meeting of the 3 Judge Supreme Court Collegium, consisting of himself, Justice Sabarwal, and Justice Ruma Pal, and the 3 Judge Collegium, having perused the IB report recommended to the Government of India not to extend the 2 year term of that Additional Judge?
5. Is it, or is it not, correct that after that recommendation of the 3 Judge Collegium of the Supreme Court was sent to the Government of India, he (Justice Lahoti), on his own, without consulting his 2 other Supreme Court Collegium colleagues, wrote a letter to the Government of India asking the Government to give another 1 year term as Additional Judge to the concerned Judge?
6. If indeed the IB reported, after an enquiry, that the Judge was indulging in corruption, why did he (Justice Lahoti) recommend to the Government of India to give that corrupt Judge another term of 1 year as Additional Judge in the High Court?
Putting an end to speculations on why did Markandey Katju raised the issue so late; Katju on his blog posted a clarification in the end which read:
Some people have commented about the timing of my statement. What happened was that some Tamilians had commented on Facebook that I am posting several matters on my Facebook post, so I should also post some of my experiences in Madras High Court. Then I started posting about my experiences there, and it was at time I remembered this experience too, and posted it.