Katju’s Pinching Truth: Is Collegium System A Sham?

Justice Katju has posed six direct question on Justice Lahoti. This has given immense weight to Katju’s side. At the same time, it has made one thing pretty clear: The collegiums system is a sham.

Justice Markandey Katju has spoken the truth. And it takes a lot of courage to do so.

People have mocked him. While the Congress party tried to question the timing of the truth, former chief justice of India RC Lahoti tried to save himself by saying that he has done nothing wrong in his life. Another CJI, KG Balakrishnan dismissed Katju’s truth by calling it silly.

Well, the truth sometimes looks silly and no one admits doing something wrong in his entire life, especially in front of the media. But that is not a problem with Katju. The Press Council of India chairman has posed six questions, this time directly to Lohati, on his blog Satyam Bruyat for the all saintly attitude put up in front of the camera by the latter.

Katju said that since Lahoti has not gone into any specifics, he will put things in perspective. He then posed six questions:

“Is it, or is it not, correct that I first wrote him a letter from Chennai, stating that there were serious allegations of corruption about an Additional Judge of Madras High Court, and therefore he (Justice Lahoti) should get a secret intelligence enquiry held against that Additional Judge, and thereafter I personally met Justice Lahoti at Delhi and again requested for a secret IB enquiry against the Additional Judge about whom I had received several complaints, and from several sources, that he was indulging in corruption?

“Is it, or is it not, correct that on my request Justice Lahoti ordered a secret IB enquiry against that Judge?

“Is it, or is it not correct, that a few weeks after I personally met him in Delhi and then returned to Chennai, he telephoned me from Delhi (while I was at Chennai) and told me that the IB, after thorough enquiry, gave a report that indeed the Judge was indulging in corruption?”

Katju then asked if after receiving the adverse IB report against the Additional Judge whether Lahoti called a meeting of the three-Judge Supreme Court Collegium, consisting of himself, Justice Y K Sabharwal and Justice Ruma Pal, and the Collegium, having perused the IB report recommended to the Government of India not to extend the 2-year-term of that Additional Judge?

Katju further said on his blog, “If indeed the IB reported, after an enquiry, that the Judge was indulging in corruption, why did he (Justice Lahoti) recommend to the Government of India to give that corrupt Judge another term of 1 year as Additional Judge in the High Court?”

This has given immense weight to Katju’s side. At the same time, it has made one thing pretty clear: The collegiums system is a sham.

The story thus far has given a clear impression that political parties do interfere with the judicial appointments and the Supreme Court collegiums does not have much weight as it should have. This was also proven when the Narendra Modi-led BJP government trumped Gopal SUbramanium’s appointment as Sc judge recently, although, the scenario was a little different.

Also, it gives a clear indication that the collegium is generally dominated by the CJI as Katju explains way better through his recent “example”.

Time has come that we root for review of the collegiums system.

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