“I would reiterate that in any case if the concerned judge felt that anybody, be it a union minister, tried to influence his judicial function, he could have proceeded against him without seeking any direction from the chief justice of India or the chief justice of high court, under the contempt of court (provisions),” Former chief justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan added.
Former chief justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan
……………………. New Delhi, Dec 15 (IANS) Former chief justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan Wednesday released a letter which former Madras High Court chief justice H.L. Gokhale wrote to him, and said that there was no question of “suppressing” former minister Andimuthu Raja’s alleged bid to influence a high court judge.Balakrishnan pointed out that a report of then Madras High Court chief justice Gokhale, who is now a Supreme Court judge, did not mention any name.
“There was no question of suppressing the report of the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court,” Balakrishnan said in a statement.
“I am certain that in the report received from the Chief Justice of Madras High Court, no name of the union minister was mentioned, and that there was no case that any minister himself (had a) telephonic talk with the judge or threatened or influenced him,” the former chief justice of India (CJI) said.
“No action could have been taken based on that report of the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court,” said Balakrishnan in the statement.
He referred to media reports, following a release issued Tuesday by Justice Gokhale, which appeared to suggest that he suppressed facts to save somebody.
Justice Gokhale in his statement took on Balakrishnan after the former chief justice of India claimed he did not know about an alleged bid by Raja, through a lawyer, to influence Justice R. Reghupati of the high court into giving bail to two friends.
In the letter dated Aug 8, 2009, made public by Balakrishnan, Justice Gokhale wrote: “Now as can be seen from the letter of the learned judge, he has clearly stated that the minister did not speak to him.”
But the judge has “in clear terms, stated that the advocate did try to exert pressure on him”, Justice Gokhale wrote.
Justice Reghupati had earlier claimed that advocate K. Chandramohan tried to influence him to issue a bail order by telling him that the two applicants were family friends of Raja.
Chandramohan even tried to make Justice Reghupati speak to Raja on his mobile phone. The judge declined to take the call.
“I maintain that I did not receive any letter from Justice Reghupati addressed to me and it is not the practice also to have correspondence with the judges…but (CJI) always seeks report from the concerned chief justice of the high court, in case any issue brought to the notice of the CJI warrants so, which I did in this case,” Balakrishnan said.
“I would reiterate that in any case if the concerned judge felt that anybody, be it a union minister, tried to influence his judicial function, he could have proceeded against him without seeking any direction from the chief justice of India or the chief justice of high court, under the contempt of court (provisions),” he added.
On Dec 7 this year, the high court suspended Chandramohan from functioning as president of the Bar Council of Madras.
The judicial controversy came out in the open after Raja quit as central minister following allegations that he sold second generation airwaves at below the market rate, causing huge losses to the national exchequer.
Balakrishnan added: “All these matters were brought to the notice of the union law minister Aug 18, 2009, in response to his letter to me drawing reference to the memorandum submitted to the prime minister by MPs of different political parties.”
…… 12/15/2010 8:38:18 PM by IANS