Karnataka CJI shifted to Sikkim High Court

Controversial Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran, facing impeachment in Parliament following allegations of corruption, was today shifted to Sikkim.

Last Updated: Jul 30, 2010, 23:30 PM IST

New Delhi: Controversial Karnataka High
Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran, facing impeachment in
Parliament following allegations of corruption, was today
shifted to Sikkim.

A Law Ministry notification said the decision was
taken by President Pratibha Patil after consultation with
Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia. Justice Dinakaran has
been directed to assume charge as Sikkim High Court Chief
Justice on or before August 13.

Consequently, Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice
Jagdish Singh Kheher (57) will take over as Chief Justice of
the Karnataka High Court on or before August 13.

Sikkim High Court Chief Justice Barin Ghosh (58) will
replace Justice Kheher in the Uttarakhand High Court on or
before August 13.

Justice Dinakaran (60) was recommended for elevation
as a Supreme Court judge by the apex court`s Collegium in
August, 2009. But after several top jurists objected to his
name citing allegations of corruption and land grabbing, the
government returned the recommendation to the Collegium in
December, 2009.

In January, opposition parties moved an impeachment
motion against Justice Dinakaran in the Rajya Sabha.
Allegations listed in the impeachment motion against Justice
Dinakaran include possessing wealth disproportionate to his
known sources of income, unlawfully securing five housing
board plots in the name of his wife and two daughters and
entering into benami transactions.

The charges against him also include acquiring and
possessing agricultural holdings beyond the ceiling limit.
Justice Dinakaran has refuted the allegations.

In March this year, the Supreme Court Collegium had
asked Justice Dinakaran to proceed on leave but he did not do
so. The Collegium then recommended his transfer to the
Government.

While Justice Dinakaran has been staying away from
judcial work in Karnataka, he continues to carry out
administrative functions. Earlier this month, the Collegium had reiterated its
stand to transfer Justice Dinakaran to Sikkim, Sikkim High
Court Chief Justice Barin Ghosh to Uttarakhand and
Uttarakhand High Court Chief Justice J S Khehar to Karnataka.

The Government had recently expressed its reservations
over frequent transfers of High Court Chief Justices while
returning the file relating to a chain of transfers back to
the Collegium with a request to reconsider its decision.

In a letter to the CJI, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
had reportedly expressed reservations over frequent transfers
of Chief Justices as it could affect the functioning of High
Courts bogged down by pending cases.

The previous Collegium, headed by former Chief Justice
of India K G Balakrishnan, had recommended transferring
Justice Dinakaran to the Sikkim High Court.

The Collegium had also recommended transferring
Himachal Pradesh Chief Justice Kurian Joseph to the Jharkhand
High Court.

Chief Justice Barin Ghosh, who was shifted from Jammu
and Kashmir HC, had taken oath at Gangtok on April 14. In the
case of Himachal Pradesh High Court Chief Justice Kurian
Joseph, he had assumed office on February 8.

While the present Collegium decided against
transferring Justice Joseph, it had again recommended
transferring Justice Ghosh to Uttarakhand.

AAB, Bar Council welcome transfer

The Advocates Association of
Bangalore (AAB) and the state Bar Council today welcomed the
transfer.

"I welcome the decision of President Pratibha Patil to
give her assent to the transfer of Chief Justice P D Dinakaran
to Sikkim High Court. This vindicates the stand of the
Association," AAB president K N Puttegowda told PTI.

"We are grateful to the honourable judges of the
Supreme Court Collegium for transferring Justice Dinakaran.
Our concern was only to uphold the dignity and sanctity of the
great institution of judiciary and not against any
individual," he said.

Jayakumar S Patil, chairman of the Karnataka Bar
Coucil, also welcomed the decision.

-PTI