Hon’ble Justice Dinakaran
The Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and including Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice Tarun Chatterjee and Justice R.V. Raveendran had recommended in August 2009, Justice P.D. Dinakaran, the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court, for elevation to the Supreme Court. The recommendations came along with the names of four other Judges for elevation to the Apex court namely, Justice AK Patnayak (Chief Justice of Madhya Pradesh High Court), Justice Tirath Singh Thakur, (Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court), Justice SS Nijjar (Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court) and Justice KS Radhakrishna ( Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court).
While the decks were cleared for the elevation of the latter four Judges, iimmediately after the news of Justice Dinakaran’s proposed appointment became known, a group of highly respected and responsible lawyers from Chennai called the Forum for Judicial Accountability sent a series of representations to the Collegium and the government detailing several very damaging allegations against him. These included, acquiring more than 350 acres of agricultural land and encroaching on another more than hundred acres of public land; acquiring properties benami and far beyond his known sources of income; hearing and deciding cases of his friends etc. All the allegations were backed by unimpeachable documentary evidence.
Though the Chief Justice of India, continued to back him, he ordered an inquiry into the allegation regarding his agricultural land by the District Magistrate, who confirmed the allegations including his encroachment of public land. Thereafter Justice Dinakaran tried to destroy evidence and threatened the revenue officials who went to stop this destruction of evidence. All this came to be widely reported in the media. An embarrassed PMO forced a reluctant Law Minister Moily to return the recommendation to the collegium for reconsideration. The collegium did not withdraw the recommendation, but merely put it on hold. No “in house inquiry” was ordered either.
Meanwhile people questioned how Dinakaran could continue as Chief Justice of Karnataka in the light of such serious offences that he had committed. There was also the demand that FIRs should be registered and the offences that he had committed be investigated. The Chief Justice of India however did not give permission for registering any FIR against Justice Dinakaran. This left no option but to initiate impeachment proceedings against him. The Forum for Judicial Accountability prepared the impeachment motion which was sent to all the political parties by a campaign for signatures. Eventually 75 MPs of the Rajya Sabha, belonging to many political parties except the Congress party signed the impeachment motion and presented it to the Vice President. The motion was soon admitted by the Vice President forcing Justice Dinakaran to stop discharging judicial functions.
The procedure laid down by the Judges Inquiry Act for proceeding with an impeachment motion is that the Vice President appoints an enquiry committee consisting of a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, a Chief Justice of a High Court and a jurist to enquire into the charges against him. Only if the enquiry committee finds him guilty does the matter proceed further for a voting in the two houses of Parliament. The motion for his removal has to be then passed by a two third majority in each house. Only then can he be removed. Though there is no requirement under the Judges Inquiry Act for the Vice President to consult the Chief Justice in the choice of members of the enquiry committee, he consulted the Chief Justice, who recommended two judges of the Supreme Court and two Chief Justices of the High Court. Based on the Chief Justice’s advice, the Vice President has appointed an inquiry committee comprising of Justice V.S. Sirupurkar of the Supreme Court, Chief Justice A.R. Dave of the A.P. High Court and Shri P.P. Rao as the jurist.
The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform as well as the Forum for Judicial Accountability have however written to the V.P. pointing out that Justice Sirupurkar has not only been a close friend and colleague of Justice Dinakaran, but he has also prejudged the issue, telling several responsible lawyers that he knows Justice Dinakaran well and that he is an independently wealthy and honourable man. Moreover, Shri P.P. Rao had been formally consulted by Justice Dinakaran on how he should deal with these charges and that he had advised him on the matter. In these circumstances, they would not be seen to be impartial and therefore should not sit as judges on this inquiry committee to avoid damage to the credibility of the inquiry and further controversy. However till the date of writing they have not yet recused themselves.
Representations by the Forum for Judicial Accountability to the Collegium
- Representation 1 against Mr.Justice P.D.Dinakaran, Chief Justice, Karnataka High Court – amassing of huge assets, corruption and serious irregularities.-
- Representation 2, Further particulars with supporting materials regarding Mr. Justice P.D.Dinakaran, Chief Justice of Karnataka–
- Representation 3, Details of more acquisitions by Justice P.D.Dinakaran–
- Representation 4, Details of more acquisitions and improper judicial conduct of Justice P.D.Dinakaran.-
Motion for Impeachement of Justice Dinakaran
The notice of motion for presenting an address to the President of India for the removal of Justice Dinakaran, Chief Justice of the Karanataka High Court, under Article 217 read with Article 124(4) of Constitution of India for his various acts of misbehavior, including dishonest judicial orders, irregular and dishonest administrative actions, etc, along with an explanatory note on the motion for impeachement.
Press Statement against Survery of India probe into Justice Dinakaran encroachment
Press Statement issued by the Forum for Judicial Accountability against the Survey of India spot probe into the allegations of land encroachment by the Karnataka Chief Justice, P.D. Dinakaran, to be conducted on December 30th 2009 as reported in a newspaper.
The Forum calls upon the Central Government to recall the three member team deputed by the Survey of India immediately and to await the outcome of the enquiry under the impeachment proceedings. …
CJAR letter to the Vice President regarding the enquiry committee in the Justice Dinakaran impeachment
The Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform has sent a letter to Shri Hamid Ansari, Vice President of India, regarding the 3 member enquiry committee appointed to enquire into the motion for removal of Jusitce P.D. Dinakaran. The letter brings to Shri Ansari’s notice that Justice Sirupurkar’s friendship with Justice Dinakaran, coupled with his prejudgement of the matter, places him in a position where if he inquires into this matter, justice will not be seen to be done. The same would be the case with Shri P.P. Rao who has been formally consulted in the matter by Justice Dinakaran. The letter further requests that these facts be placed before Justice Sirupurkar and Shri P.P. Rao and they be asked whether they would like to recuse themselves from the inquiry committee, to avoid any further controversy in the matter.
- Extraordinary situations call for extraordinary measures -Justice D Y Shylendra Kumar
- The Dinakaran Imbroglio: Appointments and Complaints against Judges – Mr. Prashant Bhushan
- Details of individual / organisation writing critique:
Name: Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform
Address: 6/6 Jungpura B (basement), Mathura Road, New Delhi: 110014
- Post held at the relevant time: Chief Justice, Karnataka High Court
- Current Status: Chief Justice, Karanataka High Court