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Former CJI Balakrishnan Rejects Allegations In Justice Reghupathi Episode

PTI 08 Dec 2010, 20:09:43 IST
New Delhi, Dec 8: Rejecting allegations against him, former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan today said that there was no mention of any Union Minister in the report sent by the Chief Justice of Madras High Court on Justice Reghupathi episode.

"I regret to say that the allegations are absolutely incorrect," he said referring to news reports that he had suppressed a letter purportedly written by Justice S Reghupathi to him when he was Chief Justice of India.

The news reports have alleged that he had suppressed that letter which had purportedly alleged that the then Telecom Minister A Raja had tried to influence Justice Reghupathi which cast aspersion on him (CJI) that he had committed dereliction of duty.

Justice Balakrishnan, who is now NHRC chairperson, at a hurriedly called press conference said that "I had not received any such letter or communication from Justice Reghupathi while I was in office.

"When this incident was reported in the media, I sought for a report from the then Chief Justice of Madras High Court Justice Gokhale and he sent me a report wherein nothing was mentioned about any Union Minister having made a telephonic talk with Justice Reghupathi to influence him," he said.

Justice Balakrishnan said that he disclosed "these facts" about the episode "at the relevant time".

Moreover, if anything amounting to interference in the judicial function of Justice Reghupathi had happened, he could himself have exercised his powers of contempt of court, for which no permission was required from the Chief Justice of India, he pointed out.

He said that Justice Reghupathi had written a letter to the Chief Justice of Madras High Court, and not to him.

It appears that Justice Reghupathi, by making a statement that he reported the matter to the Chief Justice, "certainly" meant the Chief Justice of Madras High Court, not the Chief Justice of India, he explained.

"These facts may be verified," Justice Balkrishnan said.

The former CJI said that Justice Gokhale sent him a "one page brief report" about the episode.

The letter written to him by Justice Gokhale wherein there was no mention of any Union Minister, "may be" available in the office of the present Chief Justice of India, he added.

When asked whether Raja's name was mentioned in the report of Justice Gokhale, he said, "No, it was not there. At that, I am certain it was  not there."

Asked whether it was mentioned in the Justice Gokhle's report that any Union Minister tried to influence the Judge, he said, "Unless that letter is before me, can't say."

When insisted, he said, "I couldn't recall what are the...I can only say that the name of any Union Minister having any telephonic talk with the Judge was never made. That was the gist of the letter."

"No Union Minister's name was mentioned in the letter. This is only probably what Mr Reghupathi narrated to him (Justice Gokhale) was reported to me," he said.

To a question whether he has the copy of Justice Reghupathi's letter, he said, "I understand that all the papers with the registry of the Madras High Court were called for by Justice Khalifullah and are kept in the Madras High Court." PTI