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

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Dr├Ęze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Strategy for united struggle against Hindutva 'fascism': Ideological silence is 'no option'

By Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Electoral alliance and opportunism of national and regional political parties, neoliberal economic marginalisation and soft secular Hindutva line pandering to Hindu majoritarianism laid the foundation of Hindutva fascism in post-colonial India.