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Government backs Katju's claims on judiciary, points fingers at UPA

Jul 22, 2014 12:49 PM IST Politics Politics

New Delhi: Former Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju's allegation continued to stall Parliament on Tuesday. The government backed Justice Katju's claims and also pointed fingers at the previous UPA government.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that in June 2005, Manmohan Singh's office asked the Supreme Court collegium to consider the judge named by Katju. Another note was sent by the Law Ministry after the Supreme Court initially refused.

The government also said that there was a need to improve the way judges are appointed. This led to uproar in the House with the Congress questioning the government saying judges' conduct cannot be discussed in Parliament. The DMK too raised the issue in the Lok Sabha which saw repeated adjournments over the issue.

Speaking to CNN-IBN, Katju had alleged that a district judge in Tamil Nadu was elevated to the post of additional judge in the Madras High Court despite charges of corruption against him. After these allegations, Katju on Tuesday posed six questions before former Chief Justice of India RC Lahoti. His six questions to Lahoti are:

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 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. "After receiving the adverse IB report against the Additional Judge, Justice Lahoti, who was then Chief Justice of India, called a meeting of the three Judge Supreme Court Collegium, consisting of himself, Justice Sabarwal, and Justice Ruma Pal, and the three Judge Collegium, having perused the IB report recommended to the Government of India not to extend the two year term of that Additional Judge?"

5. "After that recommendation of the three Judge Collegium of the Supreme Court was sent to the Government of India, he (Justice Lahoti), on his own, without consulting his two 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 one year as Additional Judge in the High Court ?"

Katju on Monday had alleged that a District Judge in Tamil Nadu was elevated to an Additional Judge of the Madras High Court despite charges of corruption against him. Rejecting Katju's allegations, Justice Lahoti said, "Everything is a matter of record. Whatever I have done or not done is all on record with reasons. I have never done anything wrong in my life." His allegations had led to a storm and uproar in the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha on Monday.