Skip to main content

"Shameless" effort to tarnish image of Justice Sikri, who agreed to oust CBI topcop

Justice AK Sikri
Counterview Desk
In a scathing attack on the "Indian media", especially the high profile news portal "The Print", former Supreme Court judge Makandey Katju has said in a Facebook post  that the story of the appointment of Supreme Court judge AK Sikri to a "plum post" is nothing but "shameless" sensationalism. Calling Justice Sikri "outstanding, totally upright, extremely competent and hard working judge", Katju adds, "Yet our mostly rotten and shameless media has sought to tarnish him in mud and ruin his reputation."
"The Print" story, titled "Justice Sikri, whose vote decided Alok Verma’s fate, gets Modi govt nod for plum posting", tried to link the Narendra Modi government's recent decision to nominate Justice Sikri to the vacant post of president/member in the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT) with his January 8 vote that proved crucial to the ouster of CBI director Alok Verma over corruption charges.
"The judge, second in seniority after Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, will join the CSAT after his retirement as Supreme Court judge on 6 March", " "The Print" story said, adding, "The members of the prestigious tribunal are appointed for a four-year term, which may be renewed for one more term."
Justice Sikri's vote was important, since he was the third member of the high-level committee — apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leader of the single-largest party in opposition in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, both of whom had diametrically opposite views on Verma’s future in the CBI — asked to take the politically-sensitive decision by the Supreme Court.
"Justice Sikri had the same view as the government at the meeting, where Kharge gave a strong dissent note", the story argued, noting, "It is learnt that CJI Gogoi replied to the government in the affirmative after checking with Justice Sikri." Union Minister for Law and Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad wrote to CJI Gogoi last month, "apprising him of the External Affairs Ministry’s decision to nominate Justice Sikri to the coveted post and seeking his consent", it added.
The decision of the three-member panel to oust Verma from his post has attracted criticism, with former Supreme Court judge AK Patnaik, who was appointed by the Supreme Court to oversee the preliminary probe by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) into complaints against Verma, questioning the same. Patnaik termed the decision of the Prime Minister-led selection committee “very, very hasty”, adding, “There was no evidence against Verma regarding corruption”.
Meanwhile, following the media oucry, Justice Sikri has withdrawn his decision to be appointed as CSAT president/member.

Text of Katju's Facebook post:

Has the Indian media no shame?
While there are many crooked and corrupt officials and authorities in India, there are also some upright, hard working and competent ones.
It is the duty of the media to criticise and expose the former, but it is also its duty to protect and praise the latter.
Markandey Katju
But see how the media has behaved with Justice Sikri?
Here is an outstanding, totally upright, extremely competent and hard working judge, for which I can personally vouch as I was his Chief Justice in the Delhi High Court when he was a puisne judge in that Court, and I knew him intimately. Yet our mostly rotten and shameless media has sought to tarnish him in mud and ruin his reputation.
As Chief Justice of Delhi High Court I had not only to do judicial work but also a lot of administrative work, and so after finishing my judicial work at 4 pm. I had usually to remain in the Court till about 8 p.m. doing administrative work. On finishing that I would often enquire if any other judge was still in his chamber? Invariably I was told that Justice Sikri was still there preparing his judgments, which he would do meticulously. I would go to his chamber and ask him to go home and not over strain and damage his health.
His reputation and integrity was impeccable. I never heard any complaint against him.
And yet this is the man whom much of our media attacked yesterday, like hounds baying for his blood.
So let me tell the truth.
It all began with a story in theprint.in about Justice Sikri's nomination by the Union of India to the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitration Tribunal (CSAT) for which Justice Sikri had given his consent.
This part of the story was no doubt correct.
But a half truth can be as bad, if not worse than a total lie, as stated in the Latin maxim 'Suppressio veri suggestio falsus' (i.e. suppression of the truth is equivalent to expression of a falsehood). The story published in theprint.in is guilty of suppressing the full truth, and presenting grossly distorted facts. So let me tell the full truth :
1. The CSAT is a body which decides service disputes of Commonwealth employees. Its sittings are only held as and when an application is received from a Commonwealth employee alleging breach of contract of service. There are no sittings on regular basis, and its members are not based permanently in England. They go the Tribunal when there is some case to decide. That usually happens only 2 or 3 times a year. No regular salary is paid to its members. So the Tribunal members are not like judges of the International Court of Justice who sit permanently at The Hague and are paid regular salary.
So to call it a ' plum posting' as was done in the story in theprint.in is a complete distortion and fake news. It is a low attempt by a journalist to sensationalise and peddle 'masala' to the public, which is the regular habit of most Indian journalists nowadays.
2. Justice Sikri had been nominated to the CSAT by the CJI after taking his consent in the first week of December 2018, that is, more than a month before the Supreme Court judgment on January 8, 2019 which set aside the order sending Alok Verma on leave, and directing the High Powered Committee to decide the matter within a week. It was only after that judgment that the CJI nominated Justice Sikri to the High Powered Committee.
So to link up the decision of the Committee to remove Verma from the CBI with Justice Sikri's consent given a month earlier to be on the CSAT, as the story in theprint.in has tried to do, is absurd, and is another example of the shoddy fake news which most of the Indian media has made its regular habit.
When he gave his consent to be on the CSAT in the first week of December 2018 Justice Sikri was not a member of the High Powered Commttee, and even the Supreme Court judgment of January 8, 2019 had not come. So how can it be insinuated, as the story in theprint.in has done, that the nomination of Justice Sikri to the CSAT was a quid pro quo for his decision to remove Verma from the CBI?
3. Justice Sikri yesterday withdrew his consent to be on the CSAT.
If the media has any shame left they will now apologise to Justice Sikri, whose image they tried their best to sully and besmear.

Comments

Joji Cherian said…
How Outstanding Justice Sikkri was witnessed when he sided with vindictive and corrupt Modi in ousting Alok Varma without giving him a chance to explain his position that is even when the third panelist was opposed to it.Now the judge who was supposed to have overseen the whole process comes out with a different story. Which judge we should trust?

TRENDING

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

Evolution of Sardar Patel's understanding of those 'involved' in Gandhi's assassination

By Shamsul Islam*  As the world mourns the 73rd anniversary of MK Gandhi's assassination by Hindutva terrorists on January 30, 1948, RSS, the most prominent flag-bearer of Hindutva politics, whose cadres rule India today, is found reacting angrily to the reality – that the criminals who assassinated Gandhiji were not only part of the ideological world-view of Hindu Mahasabha (led by VD Savarkar) and RSS brand of Hindu nationalism but were also connected with these. 

No Election Commission safeguard against electromagnetic hacking of EVM: Study

Counterview Desk  Releasing a new study simultaneously in Chennai and Kolkata in view of the forthcoming elections in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, the Citizens’ Commission on Elections (CCE) – a civil society initiative – has regretted “lack of integrity of EVM voting”, pointing out, the Election Commission of India (ECI) does not appear to safeguard against the possibilities of ‘side-channel attacks’, i.e, hacking electronic devices through electromagnetic and other methods.

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

Top academic claims he warned farmer leaders of Hindutva plot on Jan 26 morning

By Shamsul Islam* The photographs here show a Hindutva protagonist, Deep Sidhu, with his real masters. He is said to be the culprit who tried to derail the historic farmers' struggle by putting up a religious flag at Red Fort on January 26, with no Delhi police which works under the Indian home minister Amit Shah, a senior RSS cadre who is often described 'Iron Man' by Hindutva camp-followers. 

'Viability' of agricultural cooperatives vs govt proposed pro-corporate economic model

Dr Gian Singh* The farmer struggle started from Punjab against the promulgation of three agricultural ordinances by the Union government in June 2020 and the enactment of three bills by Parliament in September 2020 to replace these ordinances is unique in many respects. There is no other example of such a peaceful and democratic farmer struggle.