Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, P.D. Dinakaran has been advised by the Supreme Court collegium to go on leave. Although Chief Justice Dinakaran was performing administrative functions only, there was considerable opposition from the members of the bar and bench over his role.
With allegations of land grabbing and corruption, Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, P.D. Dinakaran has been advised by the Supreme Court collegium to go on leave. Although Chief Justice Dinakaran was performing administrative functions only, there was considerable opposition from the members of the bar and bench over his role. The Hindustan Times today said that Justice Dinakaran is yet to take a decision on whether to take the advise of the collegium and go on leave. HT spoke to an undisclosed source who said “The Constitution does not provide for forced leave of judges. The Supreme Court can merely suggest in this matter, it has no powers to impose its decision. What has been proven against Justice Dinakaran so far?”
Acting Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Madan B. Lokur [pictured] is set to reprise the same role in the Karnataka High Court. Media had sought a clarification on whether a Chief Justice could be handed charge of two High Courts. The Chief Justice of India, K.G. Balakrishnan clarified that, “Justice Lokur is being sent only as acting Chief Justice. Our concern is the judiciary in the State is in shambles. We want things to be set right. Let us see how things go, and then we will decide.”
There are rumours that Justice Dinakaran is being transferred to Gauhati High Court. These rumours have sparked a protest, with Assam’s lawyer body taking to the streets in opposition to his transfer. Sailen Das, the General Secretary of All Assam Lawyers' Body said, ''We shall oppose the appointment of a controversial Judge as the Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court.”
This is not the first time a transfer to the Gauhati High Court is met with protest. A similar situation arose when three Judges of the Karnataka High Court, Justices V. Gopala Gowda, N.S. Veerabhadraiah and Chandrashekaraiah, in focus during the Mysore sex scandal popularly known as the ‘Roost’ sex scandal were rumoured to be transferred to Gauhati High Court. A lawyer at the Gauhati High Court, who chooses to remain anonymous told Bar & Bench, “The Gauhati High Court is seen as a punishment posting, although the High Court covers the North eastern states”
Ever since Justice Dinakaran was elevated to the Supreme Court in December, there has been a considerable debate in the manner and appointment of Judges to the Supreme Court. Eminent Jurists like Fali Nariman and Shanti Bhushan have raised voices against the Supreme Court collegium. Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan is continuing his campaign for judicial accountability has called for the impeachment of Justice Dinakaran. Justice Dinakaran’s controversy refuses to die down with almost 75 MP’s now having signed the impeachment motion.
Can a Judge perform administrative functions if he recuses himself from judicial functions, why did the Madras and Bangalore Bar did not protest earlier when Justice Dinakaran was appointed as the Chief Justice of Karnataka High Court are some of the questions that remain unanswered. Along with Justice Dinakaran, the Supreme Court collegium has, and still is receiving flak about its opaque functioning. The collegium’s silence, bordering on reluctance to make a statement on matters relating to transparency is both frustrating and surprising.