The Secretary General,
Supreme Court of India
28th February 2017
I had addressed a letter to the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India on 17.02.2017 in connection with the suicide committed by my husband Mr. Kalikho Pul, former Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh on August 9, 2016 leaving behind a detailed suicide note of 8th August, 2016. In the said letter permission was sought from the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India for filing an F.I.R on the basis of the said suicide note against many including two senior most Judges of the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India. It was stated in that letter as under:
“I understand that in the judgment of K Veeraswami v Union of India a Constitution Bench of this court had directed that though judges of the higher judiciary are amenable for corruption investigation under the prevention of corruption act, but to safeguard their independence and to save them from harassment at the hands of the executive, any FIR and investigation of a judge at the higher judiciary would require prior permission of the Chief of India.
The judgment further says that if the allegations are against the Chief Justice then the permission required would be of other judges, which would obviously meant he next senior most judge available.
… I am sure that you will have the matter place before the appropriate judge in accordance with the judgment in Veeraswami case for consideration of my request.”
Although I did not receive any written communication in that regard, a newspaper report had appeared in the Indian Express on 22.02.2017 to the effect that the Hon’ble Chief Justice had declined to grant necessary permission on administrative side instead of placing the matter before appropriate Judge.
However, suddenly the matter was converted into a Miscellaneous Criminal Writ Petition and was listed before the Hon’ble Bench of Justice A. K Goel and Justice U. U. Lalit on 23.02.2017. As you are aware, in view of the extraordinary developments which were likely to seriously impair my right to pursue the matter in accordance with the law and fearing that the dismissal of the Writ may cause incalculable harm, the letter was withdrawn.
During the hearing it was categorically pointed out that I had not sought any relief on the judicial side and that the letter sought permission strictly in light of the law declared by the Constitution Bench of Supreme Court in K. Veeraswami v. Union of India, (1991) 3 SCC 655
Reference is invited to Paragraph 60 thereof which is as under:
“We therefore, direct that no criminal case shall be registered under Section 154, CrPC against a Judge of the High Court, Chief Justice of High Court or Judge of the Supreme Court unless the Chief Justice of India is consulted in the matter. Due regard must be given by the government to the opinion expressed by the Chief Justice. If the Chief Justice is of opinion that it is not a fit case for proceeding under the Act, the case shall not be registered. If the Chief Justice of India himself is the person against whom the allegations of criminal misconduct are received the government shall consult any other Judge or Judges of the Supreme Court. There shall be similar consultation at the stage of examining the question of granting sanction for prosecution and it shall be necessary and appropriate that the question of sanction be guided by and in accordance with the advice of the Chief Justice of India. Accordingly the directions shall go to the government. These directions, in our opinion, would allay the apprehension of all concerned that the Act is likely to be misused by the executive for collateral purpose.”
Sir, under these circumstances, I request you to supply the following information forthwith:
Whether decision on the administrative side as reported in Indian Express was indeed taken and if so, a copy thereof be supplied.
If not, was any decision at all taken on the letter, on the administrative side? If not, notings on the same be supplied recording reasons for inaction on the same.
Whether attention of the Hon’ble Chief Justice was drawn to the judgment of Constitution Bench in Veeraswami’s case?
Whether the Registry had requested the Hon’ble Chief Justice to place the letter before “appropriate judge” which would mean Hon’ble Justice Chelameswar being the senior most Judge available for action on the letter?
When and under what circumstances the Hon’ble Chief Justice took the decision to convert the letter to a Criminal Writ Petition and whether reasons for the same were recorded?
You are requested to give a copy of the said decision which is already acknowledged in the judicial order passed by the bench of Justice A.K Goel and U. U Lalit on 23.02.2017
How was the matter placed before the Bench of Hon’ble Justices A K Goel and U. U Lalit when the issue pertained to such serious matter and even if the letter was to be referred to the judicial side (although no such prayer was made and it was impermissible to so) why was it not placed before the Bench presided by Hon’ble Justice Chelameswar, the senior most available Judge?
Sir, the matter assumes great significance for the integrity of the institution and for larger public interest including Independence of Judiciary. I would therefore request you to give these details after consulting Hon’ble the senior most Judge without placing this letter before Hon’ble Chief Justice and Hon’ble Justice Dipak Mishra in view of the sensitivity of the matter.
I do hope and trust that at least now the matter will receive absolutely objective, independent and judicial treatment from this great Institution.