Justice Sikri refuses offer from government to nominate him to Commonwealth tribunal

Justice A.K. Sikri

Justice A.K. Sikri  

Government made the “oral” offer to him in first week of December last to nominate him as President/Member of CSAT.

Justice A.K. Sikri, the Supreme Court judge whose vote in the Prime Minister-led high-power committee became decisive for the removal of Alok Verma as CBI Director, on Sunday turned down an offer from the government to nominate him to the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitrary Tribunal (CSAT).

The government had made an “oral” offer to Justice Sikri in the first week of December last to nominate him as President/Member of the CSAT.

The judge, scheduled to retire on March 6, 2019, heard nothing further from the government after that.

On January 8, Justice Sikri was nominated by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi to take part in the meeting of the committee, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, to consider Mr. Verma’s fate.

In a majority decision, despite objections raised by Opposition Leader Mallikarjun Kharge, the committee voted against Mr. Verma continuing as the CBI Director.

The decision came merely a day after Mr. Verma returned as CBI Director on the basis of a Supreme Court judgment, which had found his “overnight” divestment from office by the Central Vigilance Commission and the government wrong.

The removal of Mr. Verma led to a storm of public criticism. Following this, on Sunday, media reports appeared about Justice Sikri’s nomination to the CSAT.

“The offer was made by the government orally in the first week of December 2018. Nothing more was heard about it. The judge [Justice Sikri] was given to understand that the assignment concerned deciding applications filed by members of the staff of the Commonwealth Secretariat or intergovernmental Commonwealth entities. He has now refused the offer,” a source said.

The source said the position did not involve any monthly remuneration nor was it in the nature of a regular assignment. It involved two or three sittings a year.

The statute of the CSAT, which was adopted first by Commonwealth governments in 1995, requires the eight-member CSAT to comprise Commonwealth nationals of “high moral character” who had held “high judicial office in a Commonwealth country” or jurists of recognised competence with not less than 10 years’ experience. Their tenure is four years with room for one additional term.

The tribunal determines applications regarding non-observance of contractual obligations involving staff members of the Commonwealth Secretariat or international/intergovernmental Commonwealth body/organisation, and the Commonwealth Secretariat or Commonwealth international/intergovernmental bodies.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 11:35:47 AM |

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