Katju expose: Govt says keen to appoint national judicial commission

Taking note of the concerns raised by retired Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju, the Centre announced that it will work towards setting up of a national judicial commission.

By Ajith Vijay Kumar | Last Updated: Jul 22, 2014, 13:19 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Ajith Vijay Kumar

New Delhi: Taking note of the concerns raised by retired Supreme Court Justice Markandey Katju, the Centre announced that it will work towards setting up of a national judicial commission.

Making a statement in the Lok Sabha, Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “There is an imperative need to improve upon the system of appointment of honourable judges.”

Prasad said that the government is keen to appoint national judicial commission.
“Honourable judges have retired,we can`t put the clock back,” he added. The Law Minister was responding to the allegations levelled by Justice Katju against three former chief justices of India.

Katju in a blog post had claimed that Justices R C Lahoti, Y K Sabharwal and K G Balakrishnan had made "improper compromises" and "succumbed" to political pressure from the UPA government in giving extension and elevation to an additional judge of Madras High Court who was under a corruption cloud.

The government aired its view on the issue after the issue found a loud echo in Parliament with leaders from across the political spectrum demanding a probe into Katju`s claims even as some others questioned the timing of the expose as it comes 9 years after the incident.
With Katju claiming that a Tamil Nadu based ally of the UPA government had put pressure on the UPA government, AIADMK MPs were the loudest in demanding a thorough probe.

Hansraj Bhardwaj, who was law minister in 2005, did confirm Katju`s claims on the DMK putting pressure on the UPA government but denied that the UPA caved in to pressure from the ally.

Responding to the government`s announcement to set up a national judicial commission, the Congress claimed that the matter was first taken up by its government.

Veerappa Moily, who had also served as law minister during UPA rule, said, “It may lead to indirect confrontation with the judiciary, will there be national consultation (on the issue)?”