SC bench recuses from hearing Dinakaran`s plea

Sikkim HC CJ Dinakaran is seeking stay of pre-impeachment on charges of corruption.

Last Updated: Apr 28, 2011, 15:43 PM IST

New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench Thursday recused itself from hearing Sikkim High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran`s plea seeking stay of pre-impeachment probe by a
Rajya Sabha-appointed committee into allegations of misconduct
and corruption against him.

A bench comprising justices D K Jain and HL Dattu did
not give any reason for recusing itself from hearing the
matter.

"It will go before another bench in the mentioning
list for tomorrow," the bench said.

The bench was to hear the petition filed by Justice
Dinakaran in which the beleaguered judge has challenged the
proceedings before a three-member Rajya Sabha-appointed
inquiry panel which has been hearing the charges of alleged
land grabbing and possession of wealth disproportionate to
known sources of his income.

He has sought quashing of the order of the panel which
has refused his plea for the recusal of senior advocate PP
Rao on the ground that he was biased against him.

The panel, headed by Justice Aftab Alam of the Supreme
Court, also includes Karnataka High Court Chief Justice J S
Khehar, besides Rao.

Justice Dinakaran, in his petition, has said there was
likelihood of bias in the proceedings as Rao had earlier
campaigned against him when his elevation to the Supreme Court
was under consideration.

"If there is reasonable likelihood of bias, it is in
accordance with natural justice and common sense that the
judge likely to be so biased should be incapacitated from
sitting. The basic principle underlying the rule is that
justice must not only be done but must also appear to be
done," the petition has submitted.

It has alleged Rao was part of a delegation of lawyers
which had met the then Chief Justice of India K G
Balakrishnan in 2009 to oppose his elevation to the Supreme
Court.

The panel had on April 24 rejected Dinakaran`s plea
against Rao saying the objection should have been raised at
the start of the proceedings. Rao did not participate in the
meeting when this application was discussed.

Charges against Justice Dinakaran, who is due to
retire on May 9, 2012, were levelled when he was Chief Justice
of the Karnataka High Court. He was subsequently transferred
to the Sikkim High Court.

The panel, appointed by Rajya Sabha chairperson Hamid
Ansari after the House initiated impeachment motion against
him, had asked Dinakaran to respond to the 16 charges framed
against him.

PTI