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AK Patnaik: The Judge Who Would Monitor Probe Into Allegations of Bribery Against CBI Chief Verma

Justice Patnaik was also a member of the "In-House Committee" to probe into the allegations made against Justice Soumitra Sen while an impeachment motion was moved against him.

Debayan Roy | News18.com

Updated:October 26, 2018, 4:13 PM IST
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AK Patnaik: The Judge Who Would Monitor Probe Into Allegations of Bribery Against CBI Chief Verma
Illustration by Mir Suhail/News18.com
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New Delhi: The unprecedented nasty feud between CBI Director Alok Verma and his deputy Special Director Rakesh Asthana over allegations and counter-allegations of bribery and corruption will now be under the scrutiny of the Supreme Court itself.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, on a plea by CBI director Alok Verma questioning his abrupt replacement in a midnight order by the government, stated that a CVC probe monitored by former Supreme Court judge Ananga Kumar Patnaik will be conducted into the allegations being faced by the top two officials from the agency.

The CJI ordered that the probe be completed within 14 days and listed the case for November 12.

But who is the judge who would be monitoring the CVC probe?

Justice AK Patnaik was appointed as the Judge of the Supreme Court of India on November 2009 and he retired in June 2014.
Justice Patnaik has been one of the most outspoken Justices of the apex court.

In a harsh attack on the Collegium system for the appointment and transfer of judges, Justice Patnaik had in 2014 raised serious concerns on the way judges are appointed and called it a “give and take” policy.

Justice Patnaik had then also claimed that he too was a “victim of the collegium system”. In an interview, Justice Patnaik had said, “Many competent persons have often been ignored and those who were close to members of the SC Collegium were chosen because there was no objective assessment whatsoever while making the selections.”

It’s not for the first time that Justice Patnaik will head a committee to look into allegations against the well placed.

Justice Patnaik was also a member of the "In-House Committee" to probe into the allegations made against Justice Soumitra Sen while an impeachment motion was moved against him.

The committee concluded that Soumitra Sen was guilty of misconduct and misconduct disclosed is so serious that it calls for initiation of proceedings for his removal. Rajya Sabha accepted the motion of impeachment against him. He resigned ahead of similar impeachment motion against him in the Lok Sabha.

Justice Patnaik was elevated to the Supreme Court after serving as the High Court Chief Justice for almost five years, which figures among one of the longest tenures served by a judge as a High Court chief justice before being appointed to the Supreme Court.

Later, in one of the suggestions made by the government of India in the Memorandum of Procedure [MoP] for appointment of judges was that if the senior-most Chief justice of a High Court is not being considered, the reasons for the rejection should be recorded.
In April 2018, Justice Chelameswar, now retired, addressing a question on the delay in appointing Justice AK Patnaik to the Supreme Court had stated "more transparency" and "record of meetings" needed to maintained in appointment of judges to the apex court.

It was Justice Patnaik, who along with SJ Mukhopadhyaya in 2014, ruled that lawmakers can be disqualified if they have been convicted of a criminal offence.

The bench struck down as ultra vires section 8(4) of the Representation of the People Act (RPA), which protected MPs, MLAs and other legislators in their posts if they had appealed their criminal convictions in a higher court.

He also headed the bench on the illegal iron ore mining case.

In 2012, Justice Patnaik also became part of a special two judge bench set up by then CJI SH Kapadia for hearing all cases arising out of 2G spectrum case.

| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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