Raja phone call case : Justice Gokhale contradicts former CJI

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

NEW DELHI - Senior Supreme Court Judge, Justice H L Gokhale, on Tuesday contradicted the claim of former Chief Justice of India, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, that he was not aware of the fact that former Telecom Minister A Raja had tried to influence a Madras High Court judge in a criminal case.

Justice Gokhale, who was the chief justice of the Madras High Court then said, in a statement said that he had clearly referred to the name of Raja in his letter to Justice Balakrishnan, who was the CJI then.

Justice Gokhale’s statement has come as an embarrassment for Justice Balakrishnan, as he totally contradicts Justice Balakrishnan’s claim that there was no mention of any Union Minister in the report sent by Justice Gokhale, then High Court Chief Justice, on Justice S Reghupathi episode.

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairperson and former Chief Justice of India, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, on December 8 said he had not received any letter or communication from Madras High Court Justice R. Reghupathi in connection with an allegation that A. Raja had tried to influence him (Reghupathi), and that he (Balakrishnan) had suppressed that letter.

Rejecting media aspersions that he had committed a dereliction of duty, Justice Balakrishnan said: “I regret to say that the allegations are absolutely incorrect. When this incident was reported in the media, I sought for a report from the then Chief Justice of Madras High Court, Justice Gokhale and he sent me a report wherein nothing was mentioned about any Union Minister having made a telephonic talk with Justice Reghupathi to influence him.”

“Therefore, there was no occasion for me to talk to the Prime Minister or to take any further action. I had disclosed these facts at the relevant time. Moreover, if anything happened like that which amounted to interference in the judicial function of Justice Reghupathi, he himself could have exercised his powers of contempt of court for which no permission is required from the Chief Justice of India,” an NHRC release quoted him, as saying further. (ANI)

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