Wednesday, December 15, 2010

No one acted on my plaint, I’m scared: Justice Reghupathy

New Delhi: Who in the judiciary tried to shield minister A Raja? The plot thickened on Wednesday as former chief justice of India K Balakrishnan joined the spat with Supreme Court judge H L Gokhale with a counter statement, while the judge in the midst of the controversy, Justice R Reghupathy, said that it appeared both Justices Balakrishnan and Gokhale had let him down.

Justice Reghupathy told TOI: “I faithfully reported the incident (of Raja wanting to talk to him in a bail matter) to (the then Madras high court) Chief Justice H L Gokhale by a letter dated July 2, 2009. Justice Gokhale had forwarded the letter to then CJI Balakrishnan. It was for them to take action on my complaint. Both of them did not and I am scared.”

Ex-CJI’s explanation fails to clear air

New Delhi: Justice R Reghupathy who had written to the Madras high court chief justice about union minister A Raja’s man trying to influence him, says, “I still drive my small car. I do not have any security. And I want to live like an ordinary citizen. These are big people involved. I am scared. I could have initiated contempt proceedings against the lawyer (who brought Raja’s message to him). But that would have amounted to putting myself as the judge, the jury, the victim and the witness, all rolled into one. I did not want to create a situation that could have attracted adverse comments from the bar as well as jurists.”
Meanwhile, stung by Justice Gokhale’s charge that he didn’t disclose Raja’s name despite knowing he was the offending minister, Justice Balakrishnan said that while he had received Justice Reghupathy’s letter addressed to Justice Gokhale alleging the “misconduct of a Union minister”, he couldn’t act on the basis of a letter that was not addressed to him. Justice Balakrishnan released the August 11, 2009, letter of Justice Gokhale, but did not explain as to why he did not initiate action on the basis of Justice Reghupathy’s letter which clearly identified Raja.
Also, it’s unclear why the then chief justice of the Madras high court, Justice Gokhale, did not initiate contempt as a lawyer had tried to exert pressure on a judge.

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