Raja phone call case: ‘I don’t want to play a blame game’, says Justice Reghupathi

Saturday, December 18, 2010

CHENNAI - Madras High Court Justice R. Reghupathi reiterating his previous claim that in his letter to Senior Supreme Court Judge, Justice H L Gokhale, he had specifically named former Telecom Minister A Raja, alleging that he had tried to influence him in a criminal case, on Saturday said he does not want to play the blame game.

“I don’t want to play a blame game against anybody. I was always maintaining and adopting judicial code of conduct all these days and in fact I have very great respect for the higher judiciary,” Justice Reghupathi told reporters.

Justice Reghupathi further slammed the media for calling him scared and confused and urged to act it more responsibly.

“A journalist in Delhi in fact made some allegation against higher judiciary and equally he made some comments also saying that I am scared or confused. The journalists must also adopt and maintain some decency. I have never said so. I am now senior advocate Supreme Court, I can only say that if anyone or scared or confused let them come to me,” said Justice Reghupathi.

Union Law and Justice Minister M. Veerappa Moily commenting on the fresh controversy that former Telecom Minister A Raja had tried to influence a Madras High Court judge in a criminal case on Tuesday said it is a judicial matter, and added that the issue was not in the domain of his ministry.

“It is for the judiciary to decide. The whole matter is not in my domain. We are not here to interfere in any of these things. It is for theme to take stock of things and take a proper decision,” Moily told reporters.

“If there is a difference of opinion, it is for them to sort out that and for the executive to intervene. I don”t know to whom it has been communicated to at that time. I cannot comment in the absence of that kind of personal knowledge or information, he added.

Senior Supreme Court Judge, Justice H L Gokhale, earlier on Tuesday contradicted the claim of former Chief Justice of India, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, that he was not aware of the fact that 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, 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.

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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