SC Rejects Dinakaran's Plea to Scrap RS Panel Inquiry

New Delhi
SC Rejects Dinakaran's Plea to Scrap RS Panel Inquiry
Accusing Sikkim High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran of adopting delaying tactics, the Supreme Court today rejected his plea to invalidate the inquiry by a Rajya Sabha-appointed panel into his alleged corrupt practices and misconduct.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and C K Prasad, however, asked the Rajya Sabha chairman and Vice President Hamid Ansari to replace one of the three members of the panel senior advocate P P Rao whose unbiasness was questioned by Dinakaran.

Holding that it was a "calculated" move on the part of Chief Justice of High Court to raise objection against Rao to delay the proceeding which is to be completed within three months, the bench said reconstitution of committee will not hamper the proceedings and it shall proceed on the charges already framed against the Judge.

"We hold that belated raising of objection against inclusion of Rao in the Committee appears to be a calculated move. He (Dinakaran) is an intelligent person and knows that the Presiding Officer of the Committee is required to forward the report within a period of three months from the date the charges framed under Section 3(3) of the Act were served upon him. Therefore, he wants to adopt every possible tactic to delay the submission of the report," the bench said.

Dismissing his plea to invalidate the charges framed against him due to the presence of Rao in the Committee, the bench said, "This Court or, for that reason, no Court can render assistance to him in a petition filed with the sole object of delaying finalization of the inquiry."

"Therefore, nomination of another jurist will not hamper the proceedings of the Committee and the reconstituted Committee shall be entitled to proceed on the charges already framed against him," the court said.

The committee, appointed by the Rajya Sabha Chairman in January 2010, is headed by Supreme Court judge Justice Aftab Alam and it also includes Karnataka High Court Chief Justice J S Khehar besides Rao.

The three-member panel was to examine the 12 charges framed in the notice of motion adopted by the House.

The apex court had on April 29 stayed the probe by the panel after Dinakaran expressed apprehension of a biased inquiry due to Rao's presence in the panel and that the committee had exceeded its jurisdiction.

Dinakaran had challenged the proceedings on the ground that the panel had framed additional charges and was also independently conducting investigations and collecting material against him which, according to the judge, was not permissible under law. He had also sought Rao's recusal.

The charges against the judge include land grabbing, accumulation of unaccounted assets, passing judicial order for extraneous considerations, following which his elevation to the Supreme Court was also stalled.

Although the bench said that Rao may not be biased against him but the apprehension expressed by the Judge has to be considered for the sake of justice which should not only be done but also be seen to be done.

"His knowledgeful silence in this regard for a period of almost ten months militates against the bona fides of his objection to the appointment of Rao as member of the Committee. A person of the petitioner’s standing can be presumed to be aware of his right to raise an objection," the court said while rejecting his plea to declare the setting up of the committee as invalid.
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