SC questions Centre on probe against ex-CJI

Last Updated: Monday, February 13, 2012 - 12:33

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today asked the
Centre to brief it on whether it has conducted any inquiry on
allegation against ex-Chief Justice of India and NHRC chief K
G Balakrishnan of amassing assets disproportionate to his
income.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia directed the
government to respond within a month on action taken by it or
intended to be taken on the allegation that the former CJI
amassed properties worth of Rs 40 crore in his relatives names
between 2004 to 2009.

"We want to know what was done on the representation
(before the government against ex-CJI) and what government
intends to do," the bench said when it was pointed out that
representation to the government was made ten months back but
no action had been taken on it so far.

The bench asked Attorney General G E Vahanvati to
appraise it on the issue within a month.

Vahanvati assured the court that he will go through the
petition and will write to all government authorities
concerned.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause
seeking directions to the government to conduct probe against
the former CJI for allegedly amassing disproportionate assets.

Justice Balakrishnan was elevated as a Supreme Court
judge on June 2000 and was appointed Chief Justice of India on
January 14, 2007. He retired on May 12, 2010 after which he
was appointed NHRC Chairman.

The NGO has sought issuance of direction to the
Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for making a reference to the
apex court under the Human Rights Act to look into the
allegations of "misbehaviour" against Justice Balakrishnan.

"Despite the fact that there is overwhelming evidence
indicating that the Respondent No 3 (Balakrishnan) has been
guilty of several acts of grave misbehaviour, the government
has not taken any step for his removal from the NHRC," the
petition, filed through lawyer Prashant Bhushan, said.

A provision under the Human Rights Act says that the
Chairperson or other member of NHRC "shall be removed from his
office by the order of the President of India on the ground of
misbehaviour after the Supreme Court, on a reference being
made to it by the President, has on inquiry reported that the
Chairperson or such member, on any such ground, be removed."

The NGO, in the petition, has annexed media reports as
documents to buttress its allegations that `benami` properties
were acquired by kith and kin of Balakrishnan during his
tenure in the Supreme Court.

PTI



First Published: Monday, February 13, 2012 - 11:40

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