Law Min not to make Dinakaran's resignation public



New Delhi: The resignation of former Sikkim High Court chief justice PD Dinakaran is a secret document which serves "no public interest" for the Law Ministry but the President's Secretariat has no such hitch in making it public under the Right to Information Act.

The decision, which brings out inconsistencies, in the implementation of the RTI Act in the Government, came out when an information seeker sought the copies of resignation tendered by Justice Dinakaran who faced allegations of land grabbing and corruption.

In response to identical applications directed at President's Secretariat and Law Ministry, the Rashtrapati Bhavan was forthcoming with detailed response and provided the copies of resignation tendered by Justice Dinakaran and the subsequent letter by him seeking to withdraw it.

The Law Ministry, however, referred the matter back to Justice Dinakaran seeking his views on the disclosure of the letter under section 11 (1) of the RTI Act related to third party information. Justice Dinakaran "objected" to the disclosure of the letter.

"In response Shri Justice (Retd) Dinakaran has objected to disclosure of letters. The matter has been examined and it is felt that no public good will be achieved by disclosing information contained in the letters of Shri Justice (Retd) Dinakaran. The information, therefore, cannot be provided," SK Shrivastava, Deputy Secretary to Law Ministry said in RTI reply.

In a similar incident last year, the Law Ministry had released the letter written by the then Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami to the President seeking removal of fellow Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, while the Rashtrapati Bhavan declined to make the document public.

The Law Ministry in its response said, "Under proviso (a) to Clause (1) of the Article 217 of the Constitution of India, a judge may, by writing under his hand addressed to the President, resign his office.

"As per the settled law the resignation comes into effect from the date it is signed, unless a prospective date is mentioned. The resignation sent to be effective from immediate effect cannot be withdrawn."

In his resignation submitted to the President, Justice (Retd) Dinakaran has said,"I must confess with a very heavy heart that in spite of my Constitutional position, I have been denied fair opportunity to defend myself and my reputation by the Judges Inquiry Committee."

He said that he has "sneaking suspicion" that his "misfortune" was because he was born in "socially oppressed and under privileged" section of the society.

Dinakaran alleged a member of Judges' Inquiry Committee was "biased" against him and despite his best efforts that member was retained in the committee.

"Two hours arguments against the framing of charges was dismissed in two line order without any reason. It is therefore apparent that the illegalities already crept in due to the earlier participation, effective role and adverse influence of the biased member is still continuing," he said in five-page resignation dated July 29.

On August 4, Dinakaran wrote another letter to the President seeking withdrawal of resignation and treating period between July 30-August 4 as "earned leave."

"Having thus explained my serious grievances and the reasons for tendering my resignation letter dated 29th July 2011, I am of considered opinion with full faith and confidence that I would be definitely getting justice from the Highest Institution of this Nation, Your Excellence the President of India and hence I hereby withdraw my resignation letter," he wrote to the President.

PTI