Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Backed by senior Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan, investigation sought against chief justice, top judge

Dangwimsai Pul with Yogendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan
By Our Representative
Creating a major legal controversy, late Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Kalikho Pul’s wife, Dangwimsai Pul, has asked India’s vice president Hamid Ansari to take cognizance of a 1991 Supreme Court judgment, consult apex court judges, and “permit” filing of FIR against Chief Justice of India JS Khehar and Justice Dipak Misra.
Dangwimsai Pul said this in a letter during her meeting with Ansari as part of a delegation, which included senior Supreme Court advocate and human rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan, bureaucrat-turned rights activist Harsh Mander, well-known political scientist Yogendra Yadav, and top legal expert Anjali Bhardwaj.
Referring to the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Veeraswami case, the letter wants that the issues mentioned in her husband’s suicide note against the two top dignitaries should be “credibly investigated” by an SIT constituted by 3/5 judges.
Kalikho Pul who, who was Chief Minister of Arunachal Pradesh from February 19 to July 13, 2016, committed suicide on August 9, 2016, following which 10 copies of his 60-page suicide note and dated August 8, 2016 were found.
The, note titled “Mere Vichaar” (My Thoughts), shows his "anguish about the corrupt state of affairs in politics and in the judiciary in the country", claims Dangwimsai Pul.
According her letter, Pul’s suicide note in particular contains “allegations of corruption against the sitting Chief Justice of India and the next Judge in superiority in the Supreme Court and also against the present President of India.”
“Given the gravity of the allegations contained in the note and the fact that many of them are from his personal knowledge and that a suicide note is treated like a dying declaration, this matter needs to be seriously investigated by a credible investigation team”, the letter says. 
“However”, it adds, “Since it also involves the Chief Justice and another sitting Judge of the Supreme Court, to protect the independence of the judiciary, it should not be investigated by any investigative body controlled by the Government.”
The letter quotes from the judgment in the Veeraswami case, which says that “no criminal case shall be registered under Section 154, CrPC against Judge of the High Court, Chief Justice of High Court or Judge of the Supreme Court unless the Chief Justice of India is consulted in the matter.”
The judgment insists, “If the Chief Justice of India himself is the person against whom the allegations of criminal misconduct are received the Government shall consult any other Judge or Judges of the Supreme Court.”
Taking cue from the judgment, the letter believes, “The judgment says that in case there are allegations against the Chief Justice, the President will consult other judges. This, in terms of the spirit of the judgment, would mean the judge/judges next in seniority.”
“Since in this case the allegations are also against the sitting Chief Justice and the sitting President of India, I am therefore addressing this request to you to exercise the authority which normally the President would have exercised in terms of the Veeraswami’s judgment”, the letter concludes.

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