“Govt. didn’t answer representation against its spurious and illegal argument”

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre on a public interest writ petition for removal of Justice K.G. Balakrishnan as Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission for alleged acts of grave misbehaviour.

A Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and S.A. Bobde, after hearing counsel Prashant Bhushan, asked Solicitor-General Mohan Parasaran to appear in the matter and posted the petition for hearing after three weeks.

In its writ petition, Common Cause, a non-governmental organisation, along with Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms, said it had made representations to the Prime Minister and the President on April 4, 2011 with detailed evidence against Justice Balakrishnan of alleged amassment of benami properties and disproportionate assets in the names of his relatives and associates. As no action was taken, Common Cause filed a writ petition and this court in its May 10, 2012 order said: “The petition deserves to be disposed of by requesting the competent authority to take a decision on the communication dated April 4, 2011. If the allegations… are found to be unworthy of any further action, the petitioner shall be informed accordingly. Alternatively, the President, based on the advice of the Council of Ministers, may proceed with the matter in accordance with the mandate of Section 5(2) of the Protection of Human Rights Act 1993.”

But, Common Cause said in the present plea, this direction had not been complied with by the government. In its communication dated January 29, 2013, the government decided not to proceed with the mandate of Section 5 (2) of the Act by using a spurious and illegal argument that the allegations pertained to the period before Justice Balakrishnan became NHRC chief. The government did not respond to the petitioner’s representation dated April 14, 2013 against the said communication. The petitioner said if glaring evidence of misconduct was available at the time of appointment and yet it was made, that circumstance would in itself render the appointment illegal and non est in terms of the Supreme Court judgment in the CVC case.

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