Breaking: PIL in Supreme Court on disproportionate assets of former CJI KG Balakrishnan withdrawn

Justice KG Balakrishnan

After more than four years from the first hearing, the petition in Supreme Court relating to disproportionate assets of former Chief Justice of India, KG Balakrishnan was withdrawn today after the Bench observed that “the appropriate procedure” can be followed.

The petition, which was filed by NGO Common Cause, came up before a Bench of Justices Arun Mishra and M Shantanagoudar, which quizzed petitioner’s counsel Prashant Bhushan about whether the appropriate procedure has been followed before approaching the Court.

The Court noted that one of the prayers, regarding removing Balakrishnan J. from the post of NHRC Chairmanship has been rendered infructuous.

Regarding the prayer seeking investigation into the assets of Balakrishnan J., the Court asked,

“What is the procedure to be followed?”

“An Fir has to be registered”, replied Bhushan.

“Have you filed a complaint for that. If not this is pre-mature”, said Justice Mishra.

Bhushan then said that he will withdraw the petition.

The Court agreed and granted the petitioner liberty to approach appropriate authority.

Common Cause had moved the Supreme Court in 2013 alleging amassment of disproportionate assets by Justice Balakrishnan. The Court had admitted the matter on the 28th of August the same year. The matter then remained in cold storage for a very long time. By the time it was taken up, Justice Balakrishnan had retired from NHRC rendering the main prayer infructuous.

Subsequently, when the matter came up for hearing in November 2015, the Central government had tried to shoot down the case saying that there cannot be CBI investigation in such cases as it would encourage “wild allegations”.

Later, in February 2017, Bhushan had moved an application in Supreme Court seeking SIT or CBI probe and seeking amendment of the earlier prayer, which had sought Justice Balakrishnan’s removal from the post of Chairperson of NHRC.

Today, Bhushan has withdrawn the petition to approach the appropriate authority.

 

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