Saturday, April 3, 2010

Justice Dinakaran asked to go on leave

New Delhi: Already off judicial duty, Karnataka High Court chief justice P D Dinakaran faced another setback with the Supreme Court collegium asking him to go on leave.

Justice Madan B Lokur, acting chief justice of Delhi High Court, has been made the acting chief justice of the Karnataka HC.

The SC collegium took the decision on Thursday after representations from various quarters that judicial work at the Karnataka HC was suffering in the absence of a functioning chief justice.

Interestingly, since the Constitution does not provide for a judge to be sent on leave, cooperation of Justice Dinakaran is crucial for the implementation of the collegium’s decision.

The collegium also considered the fact that the inquiry against Justice Dinakaran by a three-member committee headed by Justice V S Sirpurkar will take more than a year to complete its work. Till then judicial work at the Karnataka HC could not have been allowed to suffer. The committee was set up by the Rajya Sabha chairperson Hamid Ansari after admitting a motion seeking Justice Dinakaran’s removal.

The allegations against Justice Dinakaran range included possessing wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income, unlawfully securing five housing board plots in the name of his wife and two daughters, entering into benami transactions, and acquiring and possessing agricultural holdings beyond the ceiling limit.

There are also allegations that Justice Dinakaran was involved in illegally encroaching on government and public property to deprive dalits and poor of their livelihood, violation of human rights of dalits and poor and destruction of evidence during the official inquiry.

In its meeting, the collegium also recommended the name of MY Eqbal, the senior-most judge of the Jharkhand High Court, as the new chief justice of the Madras High Court. He will succeed Justice H L Gokhale, who has been recommended for elevation to the Supreme Court.

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