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CURRENT ARTICLES OF V. SUNDARAM (JANUARY 2010 ONWARDS)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

CHIEF INJUSTICE OF INDIA  
K.G BALAKRISHNAN – PART II

BY V. SUNDARAM I.A.S


The former Chief Injustice of India (CJI) K. G. Balakrishnan is very much in the news today for the most reprehensible, dishonourable, despicable, disgraceful and damnable reasons. K. G. Balakrishnan SEEMS TO BE AN INVETERATE LIAR. He has shown an extraordinarily authoritarian latitude for terminological inexactitude, semantic inexactitude and legal inexactitude.

When I saw the former Chief Injustice of India (CJI) K. G. Balakrishnan rambling, mumbling and fumbling before the media, I was reminded of the tale relating to ‘The Shepherd’s Boy’ in Aesop’s Fables (6th Century BC) who had our ‘Most Honourable’ Justices like Balakrishnan in view when he said for all time: “A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.” Preaching against the sin of lies and liars is not something confined only to the domain of ancient bards and writers. Let us now hear what the famous American Judge Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes had to say in this context: “SIN HAS MANY TOOLS, BUT A LIE IS THE HANDLE WHICH FITS THEM ALL”. That great American Judge would never have imagined that his words would become totally relevant and applicable, on all fours, to a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of a large democratic country like India, nearly 80 years after he had uttered those immortal words of sublime wisdom!
It is very clear that the former Chief Justice of Madras High Court H L Gokhale (now a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India) had forwarded a letter of Justice R Reghupati to Chief InJustice K. G. Balakrishnan on July 5, 2009 in which Justice Reghupati had alleged that the then Union Telecom Minister A. Raja had tried to threaten him through a Senior Advocate K. Chandramohan in the Court premises. The letter of Chief Justice Gokhale even annexed a copy of the Justice Reghupati’s letter for suitable action.

Justice Reghupati, in his letter sent to the Chief Justice of Madras High Court Gokhale, had mentioned that Senior Advocate K Chandramohan, who appeared before him, tried to influence him (Justice Reghupati) by saying that the applicants, in a bail case, Dr C. Krishnamurthi and his son were family friends of a Union Minister by name A Raja.

Justice Gokhale had forwarded Justice Reghupati’s letter in which he had mentioned about the indirect and illegal interference of then Union Telecom Minister A. Raja, through Senior Advocate K Chandramohan to the CJI on 5th July 2009 itself.

Justice Reghupati, in his letter sent to the Chief Justice of Madras High Court Gokhale, had mentioned that Senior Advocate K Chandramohan, who appeared before him, tried to influence him (Justice Reghupati) by saying that the applicants, in a bail case, Dr C. Krishnamurthi and his son were family friends of a Union Minister by name A Raja.

The former Chief InJustice of India K. G. Balakrishnan, in order to protect the corrupt Minister A. Raja, has tried his best to conceal from public view this letter sent on 5th July 2009 by the Chief Justice Gokhale of Madras High Court.

To begin with, Justice K. G. Balakrishnan lied at a press conference held on December 8, 2010, that he had not received any letter from Justice Reghupati when he was the CJI and secondly that the report which Justice Gokhale had sent to the former CJI on behalf of Justice Reghupati, did not mention the name of any Union Minister having talked to Justice Reghupati on phone on June 12, 2009 and therefore there was no occasion for him to recommend any further action.


The BAREFACED LIE uttered in public at the Press Conference by the former Chief Injustice Balakrishnan has been exposed by the fact that he had in fact acknowledged the receipt of that latter. Justice Gokhale has reacted correctly to the BLATANTLY FALSE STATEMENT OF THE FORMER CHIEF (IN)JUSTICE OF INDIA in this manner: “The reported statement of the former CJI gives an erroneous impression about my role in the matter. Hence, it became necessary for me to verify the facts from the records with the CJI's office and the record reveals that the former CJI had acknowledged the receipt in a subsequent letter dated August 8, 2009.”

Responding to a Press note issued by Justice Gokhale, Justice Balakrishnan, who is presently Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission, said, “I am certain that in the report received from the Chief Justice of Madras High Court (on August 8, 2009), no name of the Union Minister was mentioned, and that there was no case that any Minister himself made telephonic talk with the judge or threatened or influenced him (Reghupathy)”.


Thus in his own weak and untenable defense, the devious former Chief (In)Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan has made the following letter from Chief Justice Gokhale of Madras High Court public at a Press Conference.

Justice Gokhale’s letter of 8th August 2009 to the former Chief Justice of India, K.G Balakrishnan


Published in The New Express News on 16 Dec 2010

Respected My Lord,                                                           

I have received your Lordship’s letter dated 8th August 2009 forwarding a copy of the memorandum by a number of Members of the Parliament to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. It is concerning the alleged statement made by Mr. Justice R. Reghupathi in open Court, and Your Lordship has asked me to give my views/comments relating to the issue raised in the said memorandum. The first paragraph of the memorandum states that the controversy arose when a Chennai High Court Judge made a statement in the open Court that a Union Minister had telephoned him in a matter concerning a mark sheet forgery case with the recommendation that the accused should be given bail. This statement is contrary to what the Hon’ble Judge has stated in paragraph 3 of his letter dated 2nd July 2009 which I have forwarded to Your Lordship as permitted by the learned Judge. As per that letter the learned Judge has not made any such statement in the Court. In that paragraph the learned Judge has narrated the background to explain what he has stated in the Court, and thereafter he has stated “I observed that a counsel, who made an attempt to exert influence on the Court by using the name of a cabinet Minister, cannot be allowed to succeed in snatching an order in his favour by advancing threat”. The learned Judge has, thereafter, removed the matter from his Court.

The second paragraph of the letter of Honourable Mr. Justice Reghupathi clarifies the fact in this behalf, viz, that the Minister had not spoken to him although the advocate wanted him to talk to the Minister, and the learned Judge had not entertained the request.


3. Thereafter, paragraph 3 of the memorandum states that ‘assuming this clarification to be correct, it is still an attempt to interfere in the judicial process by the said Minister. If, on the other hand, the lawyer was bluffing, it calls for the most severe action against him”. This paragraph records certain questions which according to the memorandum arise out of this incident. Now, as can be seen from the letter of the learned Judge, he has clearly stated that the Minister did not speak to him. However, as far as the Advocate is concerned, the learned Judge has, in clear terms, stated that the Advocate did try to exert pressure on him. With respect to the conduct of the said advocate, two writ petitions are pending before another Bench of this High Court. A writ petition filed in Public Interest dated 2nd July 2009 seeking action against the Minister has been dismissed on 20.07.2009 as not pressed.


This is for Your Lordship’s consideration,

With kind regards,


Justice H L Gokhale

The patently unassailable fact is that the former CJI Balakrishnan did not disclose the fact that this report of Justice Gokhale was submitted in response to a letter from Justice Balakrishnan on August 8, 2009, seeking Justice Gokhale’s comments on a memorandum submitted to him by a delegation of Members of Parliament, who felt that action must be initiated against the Union Minister Raja.


Justice Gokhale had written it in response to an August 8, 2009 letter sent by former CJI Justice Balakrishnan asking comments on the Memorandum submitted by Members of Parliament to the Prime Minister for action against Union Telecom Minister Raja. Justice Balakrishnan failed to state his stand on the unwarranted interference by Union Minister Raja which was made known to him by Chief Justice Gokhale in his letter of July 5, 2009.

I am also presenting below the full text of Justice R. Regupathi's July 2, 2009 letter to the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court which was forwarded by Chief Justice Gokhale of Madras High Court to the Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan on July 5, 2009. It is this letter which the former Chief Justice of India Balakrishnan tried to cover up during his many press interviews.

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Full text of Justice R. Regupathi's July 2, 2009 letter to the Chief Justice Gokhale of the Madras High Court

The following is the letter dated July 2, 2009 written by Justice R. Regupathi, then Judge of the Madras High Court, to the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court containing the relevant part where there is a specific reference to Advocate R.K. Chandramohan.

“On 12.06.2009, at about 2 p.m. during Lunch Recess, while I was in the Chamber, High Court, Madras, my Office Assistant, Mr. Mujibur Ali, informed me that Mr. Chandramohan, Chairman, Bar Council of Tamil Nadu, is waiting and seeking for an appointment to meet me and, immediately, I allowed him to come in. To start with, he discussed about the general subject on Advocates and so proceeding, he said that two persons, who are father and son/accused in a criminal case, are family friends of a Union Minister by name Raja, and that the petition filed by them for anticipatory bail must be considered favourably. Simultaneously, he handed over his mobile phone by saying that the Union Minister is on the line to have a talk with me. Right away, I discouraged such conduct of Mr. Chandramohan and told him that the case would be disposed of in accordance with law, if listed before me.

“Subsequently, on 29.06.2009, second anticipatory bail petition came to be filed for the same accused and on behalf of Mr. Chandramohan (counsel on record for the petitioners/accused), who was present in the court, Mr. Masood, Advocate, argued by stating that some new points need to be submitted and, for such purpose, the Case Diary must be summoned. Adverting to the counter filed by the prosecution and referring to the view I had already taken during the previous occasion and pointing out that there was no change of circumstance to positively consider the case of the petitioners, it was conveyed that there was no valid reason or ground to grant the prayer in the 2nd petition. It was also observed that the counsel may argue the case in detail, however, this time orders would be passed on merits and they would not be allowed to withdraw the petition. Again, the counsel insisted that the case diary must be called for and the case be heard in detail with reference to the materials collected during the course of investigation. I have impressed upon the representing counsel by explicating that a like direction could be given to the prosecution only in the event of the Judge satisfying that such course is inevitable and absolutely necessary in a given situation and that, on mere demands and as a matter of routine, such exercise cannot be undertaken.”

“At that time, Mr. Chandramohan stood up and made a similar demand and when I emphatically declined to accede to his adamant demand, he vociferously remarked that the court is always taking sides with the prosecution and not accepting the submissions made by the counsel for the accused while giving importance to the Prosecutor. On such pointless remark, I said that the counsel engaged to argue on his behalf has made his submission and he is not supposed to pass such slanderous and derogatory remarks; for, all these days, the court has been passing orders after hearing the parties and assessing the cases on their own merits and in accordance with law. In spite of that, Mr. Chandramohan, insisted that the Case Diary must be summoned and the matter be adjourned to some other day. Since Mr. Chandramohan highly raised his voice and his approach towards the court was quarrelsome, I told him that a person like him, an advocate holding position as Chairman of a State Bar Council, should not behave in such a fashion. Still the learned Advocate was outburst and uncontrollable, and I observed that a counsel, who made an attempt to exert influence on the court by using the name of a Cabinet Minister, cannot be allowed to succeed in snatching an order in his favour by advancing threat. Due to such odd experience, I had to direct the Registry to place the papers before Your Lordship for obtaining orders to post the case before some other learned Judge.”

“The case concerned was taken up at the end in the afternoon and inside the court hall, there were about 4 to 5 Advocates present and no one from the Press was there. That being so, the oral observations actually made came to be translated by the Print and Electronic Media with their own interpretations and ideas …….”

“I have written this letter/report to apprise Your Lordship the actual state of affairs Involved.”

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By citing the letter of Chief Justice Gokhale dated 8th August 2009, the former Chief (In)Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan seemed to be under a vain delusion that he had outwitted Justice Gokhale. The walkie-talkie deception and dissimulation of Chief (In)Justice K. G. Balakrishnan was thoroughly exposed by the intrepid reporter Abraham Thomas of THE PIONEER Newspaper in New Delhi in his Front Page story today (16-12-2010, Thursday) under the title ‘Balakrishnan quotes wrong letter in defence’. I offer my hearty congratulations to Abraham Thomas on his absolutely objective, ruthlessly factual and juridically balanced reporting. Abraham Thomas has admirably succeeded in his fearless pursuit of and the effort to state the Truth about the former Chief (In)Justice Balakrishnan.

Former Chief (In)Justice of India KG Balakrishnan reiterated several times that he was not aware that former Union Minister A Raja sought to influence Justice R Reghupathy and backed his claim with a report sent to him by then Madras High Court Chief Justice HL Gokhale on August 8, 2009.

But what is to be noted is that Justice Balakrishnan conveniently disregarded a crucial letter written to him by Justice Gokhale on 5th July 2009, a month prior to the August 8 2009 report, in which he discussed Justice Reghupathy’s letter naming the then Union Telecom Minister Raja as the accused.

The cussed refusal of the former CJI Balakrishnan to immediately respond to this letter of 5th July 2009 from Chief Justice Gokhale of Madras High Court has to be condemned by the Supreme Court of India, today, in the strongest possible language. I am a tax-paying citizen of India and it is my Constitutional right to make this request to the Supreme Court of India.

If the person who threatened the High Court Judge Justice Reghupati had been a Minster in the State Government of Tamil Nadu, then the former Chief Justice Balakrishnan could easily have wriggled himself out of the troubled situation by advising Justice Reghupati that he could have dealt with the issue himself at the level of the Madras High Court itself. But since in this case, the Minister who threatened Justice Reghupati happened to be a Union Cabinet Minister, it was very much the moral, legal and Constitutional responsibility of the highest judicial functionary, the Chief Justice of India, to have effectively intervened to protect the Constitutionally-mandated dignity and independence of the judiciary in India.

Against this factual background, there is no doubt whatsoever that the former CJI Balakrishnan stands fully exposed to the charge of his complete failure to discharge his Constitutional responsibility of defending and maintaining the independence of the Judiciary against the planned and criminal onslaughts by corrupt Ministers like A Raja.

Reacting to the new developments following the public verbal exchanges between truthful Chief Justice Gokhale and the not-so-truthful Chief Justice Balakrishnan, Justice Reghupathi has said, “I am thankful to Justice Gokhale… I am not supposed to react. I did not make the issue public even at the time of the incident since I wanted to uphold the dignity of the legal fraternity. It applies to me today even after retirement.”

With a view to clear his name in the matter, Justice Gokhale said, “It became necessary for me to verify the facts from the record with the CJI’s office,” giving clear indications that the present Chief Justice of India S.H Kapadia was taken into confidence before issuance of the Press release.

The former CJI’s letter of August 8, 2009 finds mention in Justice Gokhale’s Press note which referred to the receipt by Chief Justice Balakrishnan of the letter written by Justice Gokhale, on July 5, 2009. Interestingly, the former CJI letter had said, “Vide letter dated July 5, 2009 you (Justice Gokhale) have forwarded to me a detailed letter/report dated July 2, 2009 of Justice R Reghupati explaining the actual state of affairs concerning the alleged misconduct of a Union Minister of the Government of India reported in the media.”

Does this not make it clear to all concerned that the former Chief Justice of India Balakrishnan stands indicted as an INVETERATE LIAR by his own acknowledgement letter to Justice Gokhale?

It is my considered view that the former Chief Justice Balakrishnan has not only SHAMED the Indian Judiciary but also DISGRACED the Dalit community from which he hails.

Noted jurist Ram Jethmalani, former Law Minister of India in the Atal Behari Vajpayee’s NDA Government, and currently the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, has termed the former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan’s statement as “rash and irresponsible”. He has also said: “Instead of rushing with his rash and irresponsible statements, the former CJI should have taken care and consulted the file by summoning the Registrar of the Supreme Court.”

It was J Gopikrishnan the ace reporter from THE PIONEER Newspaper in New Delhi who first exposed the 2G scam of the then Union Telecom Minister A. Raja more than two years ago. He has now brought out certain vital facts relating to former Chief Justice of India Balakrishnan’s blatant attempts to shield the corrupt Union Minister A. Raja.

It is heartening to note that the Madras High Court in its order of 7th December, 2010 has clearly and categorically identified former Union Minister A Raja as the accused who tried to influence Justice R Reghupathi to grant bail to a father-son duo of Dr C Krishnamurthy and his son in a criminal case.

According to J. Gopikrishnan this puts the former Chief Justice Balakrishnan in a spot! Moreover The Pioneer was the first newspaper to report on July 1, 2009 itself that former Minister A. Raja was the person who had tried to put pressure on Justice R Reghupathi to grant bail to Dr C Krishnamurthy and his son. Krishnamoorthy is a close associate of Raja and belongs to the Minister's hometown, Peramballur. He is the owner of the building which housed a law firm run by Raja before he became a Minister. Krishnamoorthy is also the managing director of a Coimbatore-based real estate company, Kovai Shelters Promotors India Pvt Ltd, formed on January 19, 2007. As per the documents available with the Registrar of Companies, Raja's nephew Dr R Sridhar and nieces R Anandabhuvaneswari and R Santhanalakshmi are directors in this company and jointly hold 45 per cent shares in Kovai Shelters.

Immediately after this expose by The Pioneer on July 1, 2009, the entire Opposition demanded Union Telecom Minister A. Raja’s resignation and intervention of the Prime Minister. But all of a sudden, after four days, on July 5, 2010, Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan in an interview to an English daily declared that “No Minister had called the Judge” and termed the incident as a mischief by the Advocate.

But, J. Gopikrishnan is absolutely right when he asserts the fact that former Chief Justice Balakrishnan was in receipt of Justice Reghupathy’s letter of July 2, 2009, in which he had clearly identified Raja as the Union Minister who had tried to influence him through advocate RK Chandramohan. Raja may not have spoken directly to Justice Reghupathy, but it is clear that he tried to dictate his terms to him through advocate Chandramohan.

This is evident from the following passage of Justice Reghupathy’s letter to CJI Balakrishnan: “To start with, he (Chandramohan) discussed about the general subject on advocates and proceeding further he said two persons who are father and son/accused in a criminal case are family friends of a Union Minister by name A Raja and that the petition filed by them for anticipatory bail must be considered favourably.”

The emphasis on word “must” shows that Chandramohan, a close friend of Raja, was not merely making a request to Justice Reghupati but was also directing him, to act in a particular manner, on behalf of the then Union Telecom Minister Raja.

However, the former Chief Justice of India Balakrishnan issued a statement to the Press in August 2009 dismissing the ugly incident “as a closed chapter”.

Incidentally, around the same time, the Supreme Court also covered itself with public disgrace by staying the order of the Central Information Commission for publication of Justice Reghupathy’s 2nd July 2009 letter to Balakrishnan about the incident. The Central Information Commission had ordered to publish the letter on a petition filed by RTI activist Subash Chandra Agrawal. As a classic instance of lopsided intervention, and with supreme contempt for the larger public interest on the one hand and blatant disregard for the sacred cause of judicial independence and dignity on the other, the Supreme Court stayed the order of the Central Information Commission and as a diversionary tactic, referred the matter to a Constitution Bench, which is yet to settle the case.

Does not the official and public conduct of this former Chief (In)Justice of India Balakrishnan raise fundamental issues relating to the rotten and corrupt Indian Judicial system that enables such sly, devious and corrupt men, totally unfit for public appointments of any kind, to get catapulted by the Sonia Congress System to the high and mighty constitutional offices in India?

Let me quote an article titled 'The CJI is the visible symbol of the judiciary' as reported in The Hindu 13 May 2010:

The Supreme Court has an illustrious lineage of Chief Justices who gave new directions to the judiciary, expanded the scope of legal rights, introduced new concepts and practices and worked to reform the system. But unfortunately Justice Balakrishan’s tenure may not be considered so distinguished and impressive, as his helmsmanship was seen to be lacking in dynamism and creative and positive thinking. He rather acquired a negative and obstructionist image. In some of the decisions and actions during his stewardship of the highest court, and in his views about issues and positions on them, he came through as a defender of orthodoxies and technicalities with a sense of cynicism and helplessness aiding inaction. On occasions he seemed to distance himself from issues and problems, suggesting that the solutions lay elsewhere.”

“Even a streak of evasiveness, lack of interest and recourse to generalities could be discerned in some responses. The CJI should not only be earnest, but be seen to be so too. The contentious issue of bringing the office of the CJI under the Right to Information Act and the handling of the charges against the chief justice of the Karnataka high court P D Dinakaran have not brought laurels to the highest court. The CJI is part of a system and cannot be solely blamed for its inadequate responses to problems. But as the leader of the system and its visible symbol, he has the highest responsibility to ensure that convincing and effective solutions are found for them.”

Let me now refer to another news report published in the Hindustan Times, New Delhi, on May 05, 2010:

“Barely a week before Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan retires, it has emerged that a close relative of his was appointed a Kerala High Court judge in January last year …… .”

“The Law Commission of India, the advisory body of the government on complex legal issues, has criticised the prevalence of “uncle judges” in the higher judiciary in its report on judicial reforms in August 2009. They have stated that “A person whose near relation or a well-wisher is or has been a judge in the higher courts or is a senior advocate or is a political high-up stands a better chance of becoming a judge.”

Former Chief Justice of India V. N. Khare has said that “the sole criteria for public appointments should be overriding merit. However, in case a relative of an influential personality is being considered, it becomes the dominant factor and merit is ignored.” This seems to have been the case with the appointment of the “Uncle Judge” former Chief Justice Balakrishnan’s relative as a Judge of Kerala High Court.

I ONLY WISH THAT A MAHAPURUSHA LIKE DR AMBEDKAR HAD BEEN ALIVE IN OUR MIDST TODAY SO THAT HE COULD HAVE TAKEN DULY APPROPRIATE NOTICE OF THE PUBLIC CONDUCT OF THE FORMER CHIEF JUSTICE BALAKRISHNAN, WITH GREATER ETHICAL AND MORAL AUTHORITY AND MORE SUBSTANTIVE AND SOLIDLY ESTABLISHED LEGAL AND CONSTITUTIONAL CREDENTIALS.

 

2 comments:

srinivasaraghavan said...

unfortunately a retired chief injustice of surepreme court cannot be impeached.as there is no provision in the constituion.the great leaders who drafted the constitution would even in their dreams not have thought that judiciary in barath would descend to such a level

N.KRISHNA said...

India is in a rut with thief Sonia stealing Rs 36000 crore and all others seems to be in the same boat collecting their share in the Rs 1.76 lakh crore 2G scam. Justice Reghupathy said that A Raja interfered with his judicial function. The Central Information Commission CIC had ordered to publish the letter on a petition filed by RTI activist Subash Chandra Agrawal. But in a rare intervention, the Supreme Court stayed order of CIC and referred the matter to a Constitution Bench, which is yet to settle the case. Balakrishnan lied that the name of Raja was not mentioned in the letter. The Dalit Pulaya former CJI KG Balakrishnan said that he himself would have exercised his powers of contempt of court if name of A Raja was mentioned. Balakrishnan is married to Smt. Nirmala and has three children, K B Prdeep, K B Sony and K B Rany and all of them are lawyers. Sons in law, P V Sreenijan is married to Sony and is an advocate and a congress candidate. The thief Raja,Tata etc appears to have given crores to KG Balakrishnan. Son in law P V Sreenijan who had no land in Kerala in 2006 now owns vast areas of land and houses everywhere in Kerala. Balakrishnan had reiterated the same statement after a month in a press conference also and termed the incident “as a closed chapter.” Nira Radia tape also talk about the clean chit given by Balakrishnan to Raja. On July 7, 2009, just two days after Balakrishnan absolved Raja in the media interview, Radia referred the episode to Ratan Tata. “Yeah, I met Raja today. I went to see him today and he is alright. He is a happy man. The Chief Justice has given his clearance on him and he’s happy. He’s really happy with that,” says Radia to Tata. bit.ly/eTzJw6, bit.ly/gkgyGP, bit.ly/eJoz53,