Justice Jagdish Bhalla
This is the case where the documentary evidence was available to show that the judge has purchased the property worth crores in few lakhs in the name of his wife from well-known criminal who have illegally grabbed the land. There were inquiry reports of the Additional District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police which attested to these facts. However, despite this documentary evidence being brought to the notice of the then Chief Justice of India, he neither ordered an independent investigation nor did he allow the Committee on Judicial Accountability to get a regular FIR registered, so that a normal police investigation could have taken place. This was despite the fact that under the in-house procedure, supposedly adopted by the Supreme Court of India in 1999 for investigating charges against the judges, at least an in-house committee of judges could have formed to investigate the charges against Justice Bhalla. However instead of doing that, the then Chief Justice Y.K. Sabbarwal recommended Justice Bhalla to be the Chief Justice of Kerala High Court.
His appointment as Chief Justice was stopped only because of the complaint made by the Committee on Judicial Accountability to the President of India, who sent the matter back to reconsideration to the Supreme Court collegium, which thereafter could not reiterate its recommendation because of the opposition of one of the judges of the collegium, Justice B.N.Aggarwal. However, thereafter Justice Bhalla has been transferred as a judge of Chattisgarh High Court where he has been appointed as acting Chief Justice by the notification of Law Ministry. This was despite of the objection of the Committee on Judicial Accountability, that a judge, who was not found suitable as Chief Justice of Kerala, cannot be appointed as Acting Chief Justice of another High Court.
The case of Justice Bhalla demonstrates the hollowness of the so-called in-house procedure supposedly adopted by the Supreme Court for investigating charges against judges. It also demonstrates the pernicious impact of the Veraswami judgement which prevents any police investigation against a judge without the prior permission of the Chief Justice of India. The brotherhood among the judges and the fear among judges that any criminal investigation against the sitting judge would tarnish the image of Indian Judiciary has let to a situation whereby not a single sitting judge has been subjected to criminal investigation in the 17 years since the Veeraswamy judgement.
Impeachment Motion and Press Releases
- Press Release on the Proposed Elevation of Justice Bhalla –
- Impeachment Motion sent to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha with explanatory note-
- Press Release on the Motion of Impeachmentagainst Justice Bhalla –
Additional documents in support
- Letter to President 12.4.07 JB –
- Letter to CJI 20.3.07 JB –
- Letter for Consultation to President 3.2.07 JB –
- Application to register FIR against 1.11.06 JB –
- Complaint to Y.K.Sabarwal 12.7.06 JB –
Details of individual / organisation writing critique:
Name: Committee on Judicial Accountability
Address: 66 Lawyers Chambers, Supreme Court of India, New Delhi