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SC Judge Sirpurkar To Head Dinakaran Impeachment Panel

PTI 16 January 2010, 15:20

Supreme Court judge V S Sirpurkar will head a three-member panel that will go into the issue of impeachment of Karnataka Chief Justice P D Dinakaran, whose removal has been sought by 75 opposition members in the Rajya Sabha over land-grabbing allegations.

Justice A R Dave, Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court and noted jurist P P Rao are the other members of the Committee, which has been constituted by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari, it was announced on Saturday.

The Committee constituted under the Judges (Inquiry) Act would "make an investigation into the grounds on which the removal of Mr Justice Paul Daniel Dinakaran Premkumar, Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court is prayed for," a Rajya Sabha notification said.

The announcement of the Committee comes more than a month after Ansari admitted a notice of the motion by 75 MPs to start impeachment proceedings against Dinakaran.

The MPs belonging to BJP, Left parties, Samajwadi Party, Janata Dal (United), Akali Dal and AIADMK submitted the petition to Ansari seeking impeachment of Justice Dinakaran, whose elevation to the Supreme Court has already been put on hold following allegations of grabbing of land by him and his family members near Chennai.

Dinakaran has denied the allegations and claimed these were "without any substance or without any basis". The 55-page notice lists 12 acts of alleged misbehaviour by Justice Dinakaran.

Under the Constitution, judges of Supreme Court and High Court can be removed only through impeachment in Parliament. An impeachment process against a Supreme Court judge Justice V Ramaswamy in the early nineties fell through when the motion could not be passed as the Congress abstained from polling on orders from the then PM Narasimha Rao. 

Allegations listed in the impeachment motion against Justice Dinakaran include possessing wealth disproportionate to 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 ceiling limit.

Other allegations related to illegal encroachment 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 official enquiry.

Accusing the judge of abusing his judicial office, the motion alleged that Justice Dinakaran passed dishonest judicial orders in matters where he had personal and direct pecuniary interest.

A three-member Committee is already going into the issue of impeachment of Calcutta High Court judge Soumitra Sen over alleged judicial misconduct. PTI