Corruption, land-grab and abuse of judicial office are among the 16 charges framed against Justice P.D. Dinakaran, facing removal proceedings in Parliament.
A three-member committee comprising Supreme Court judge Justice Aftab Alam, Karnataka High Court Chief Justice J.S. Khehar and senior advocate P.P. Rao issued the charge sheet to Justice Dinakaran on March 16 seeking his response by April 9. After his reply, there will be regular hearing and the order will be sent to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari.
Informed sources said it would be open to Justice Dinakaran to defend himself before the panel through a lawyer or in person.
Justice Dinakaran as Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court was recommended for being appointed Supreme Court Judge in August 2009. But after the land-grab allegations were levelled, he went on leave and his elevation was stopped. Thereafter he was shifted to the Sikkim High Court as Chief Justice.
The sources told The Hindu that the committee had retained all charges mentioned in the motion under Section 3 of the Judges (Inquiry) Act, 1968 for removal of Justice Dinakaran, admitted in Parliament on December 17, 2009.
Initially Justice V.S. Sirpurkar headed the panel. After he recused himself from the committee, Justice Aftab Alam was appointed to head the panel in September 2010 (Both Justice Dinakaran and Justice Sirpurkar worked together as judges in the Madras High Court). Certain charges were split and re-formulated to make them more specific. The committee took the assistance of the Income-Tax department and officials of the Tamil Nadu government to ascertain and verify the facts mentioned in the motion and only thereafter were the charges framed.
The charges include: “possessing wealth disproportionate to the known sources of his income; unlawfully securing five Housing Board plots in favour of his wife and two daughters; entering into benami transactions prohibited and punishable under the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988; acquiring and possessing agricultural holdings beyond the ceiling under the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act, 1961; illegal encroachment on government and public property to deprive Dalits and the poor of their right to livelihood; violation of the human rights of Dalits and the poor; destruction of evidence during official enquiry; obstructing public servant on duty; repeated undervaluation of properties at the time of registration of sale to evade stamp duty; illegal construction in breach of the town planning law and planning permit; misuse of official position to unlawfully secure property and facilitate other illegal acts for personal gain; abuse of judicial office to pass dishonest judicial orders; contrary to settled principles of law to favour a few individuals or for his own unjust enrichment, at the cost of the public exchequer and the country's natural resources; in matters where he had a personal and direct pecuniary interest to secure several properties for his family; to take irregular and dishonest administrative actions; for constituting Benches and fixing rosters of judges to facilitate dishonest judicial decisions and to make arbitrary and illegal appointment and transfers.”