"Such reports cast aspersions on me, that I had committed dereliction of duty"

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairman K.G. Balakrishnan on Wednesday denied reports in a section of the media that the former Madras High Court Judge, Justice R. Reghupathi, had written to him when he was the Chief Justice of India (CJI) alleging that the former Union Telecom Minister, A. Raja, had tried to influence him. Justice Balakrishnan also denied that he had suppressed that letter.

“Such reports cast aspersions on me, that I had committed dereliction of duty… The allegations are absolutely incorrect,” he said in a statement here. Justice Balakrishnan made it clear that he had not received any such letter or communication directly from Justice Reghupathi while he was in office.

Gokhale’s report sought

When the media reported the incident, at that time Justice Balakrishnan sought a report from the then Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, H.L. Gokhale, and the latter sent him a report wherein nothing was mentioned about the name of any Union Minister having talked over phone with Justice Reghupathi to influence him. “Therefore, there was no occasion for me to talk to the Prime Minister or to take any further action.”

‘Facts disclosed’

Justice Balakrishnan said he had disclosed these facts at the relevant time. “Moreover, if anything happened like that, which amounted to interference in the judicial function of Justice Reghupathi, he himself could have exercised his powers of contempt of court for which no permission is required from the CJI.”

‘Facts can be verified’

“It appeared that Justice Reghupathi made a statement that he reported the matter to the Chief Justice and he certainly meant the [then] Chief Justice of the Madras High Court and not the CJI,” Justice Balakrishnan said, adding that these facts may be verified.

The letter, which was written to him by Justice Gokhale, might be available in the office of the present Chief Justice, Justice Balakrishnan said.

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