New Delhi: Former chief justice of India KG Balakrishnan on Wednesday dismissed allegations that he took no action after it was brought to his notice that the then Telecom Minister A Raja was trying to influence Justice R Raghupathy of the Madras High Court, by saying that he received no communication in this regard.
Clarifying his stand over the issue, Balakrishnan, who is the presently the chairperson of the NHRC, said, “The allegations of dereliction of duty against me are completely baseless. I would like to make it clear that I received no letter, no correspondence from Justice Reghupati of the Madras High Court suggesting that A Raja was trying to influence him.”
Speaking to reporters in the national capital, the former CJI clarified that Justice Reghupati had actually written a letter to the then Madras High Court Chief Justice HL Gokhale explaining the whole case. “The letter was not directed to me. It was addressed to Justice Gokhale, who later sent me a very brief report …it was a one page report to me about the same but if I can recall there was no mention of any union minister threatening Justice Reghupati.”
“The fact can be verified by the checking the records,” he added.
Justice HL Gokhale is currently a judge in the Supreme Court.
The controversy about former telecom minister trying to influence Justice Rehupati came to fore again, yesterday, after a division bench of the Madras High Court comprising justices FM Ibrahim Khalifulla and MM Sundaresh, while disposing of a petition by a lawyer, appended a portion of a letter written by Reghupati to the then chief justice of India (CJI) KG Balakrishnan.
In the letter, Reghupati reports that lawyer RK Chandramohan entered his chamber and pleaded that a case of a father and a son, accused in a marks scandal in Puducherry, be considered favourably for anticipatory bail as they were “family friends of a Union minister by name Raja”. The lawyer handed over his mobile phone to the judge, saying the “Union minister is on the line to have a talk with me”.
In his letter, Justice Raghupathy wrote, "On 12.06.2009, at about 2 pm during lunch recess, while I was in my Chamber, HC, Madras...Chandramohan (Chairman, Bar Council, TN) handed over his mobile phone saying that the union minister is on line to have a talk with me. Right away I discouraged such conduct of Chandramohan and told him that the case would be disposed off in accordance with the law, if listed before me."
Chandramohan, Chairman of the Tamil Nadu Bar Council is the person for whose client favour was sought. Chandramohan is also considered a close friend of A Raja and was removed from the bar council when news broke out.
Later, A Raja also denied all allegations and said that he never spoke to any judge related to the scam and added, "I never intended or authorised any person to speak on my behalf. As a former minister, I know legal issues and know people in the legal fraternity."
Balakrishnan’s name figured in the controversy after the entire report was published by leading dailies, where it was alleged that the former chief justice took no suo moto action in this regard while being in the highest office.