The Supreme Court Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishan on Friday could not arrive at a decision on whether the elevation of Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court P.D. Dinakaran as judge of the Supreme Court could be reconsidered or not.
The meeting was convened in the wake of allegations that Justice Dinakaran had acquired “huge assets,” including a large extent of land holdings. It lasted about 45 minutes and was attended by Justice B.N. Agrawal, Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice Tarun Chatterjee and Justice Altamas Kabir.
An official at the CJI’s office said, “No decision has been taken at the meeting.” Without elaborating, he said the CJI had asked him to convey this to the media.
However, according to highly placed sources, a decision was deferred as some of the Judges felt that the matter required a detailed and thorough examination as fresh material about Justice Dinakaran had come to the notice of the Collegium.
Justice Dinakaran is one of the five Chief Justices of various High Courts recommended for elevation to the Supreme Court and the matter is now pending with the Union Law Ministry.
Meanwhile, senior lawyers Shanti Bhushan and Anil Divan and advocate Kamini Jaiswal met Law Minister Veerappa Moily at the Shastri Bhavan here and appealed to him to keep the elevation of Justice Dinakaran in abeyance till a proper probe was conducted and his name was cleared.
Talking to journalists after the meeting, Mr. Bhushan said, “We have handed over to the Minister a copy of a fresh complaint given to us by the Tamil Nadu Bar. A copy had already been sent to the collegium,” he said.
He said that while recommending Justice Dinakaran for elevation, the collegium had not consulted Justice Markandey Katju and Justice A.K. Ganguly, two Supreme Court Judges who were earlier Chief Justices of the Madras High Court and were familiar with the affairs of Justice Dinakaran.
Mr. Divan said, “Since it concerns the integrity of a person recommended to the high office, we have requested that the matter be referred to the retired Judge of the Supreme Court, Justice N. Santosh Hegde, Lok Ayukta in Karnataka, who will give a report one way or the other. Justice Dinakaran has to be given proper opportunity to defend himself in the probe.”
Asked whether the recommendation could be kept in abeyance, he said, “When new facts emerge and till they are properly enquired, Justice Dinakaran’s elevation can be kept on hold.”
He said, “We have to fashion a new system of Judicial Appointment Commission as in the United Kingdom. This will require a Constitutional amendment and the government will have to push for it.”