”The CJI can advise Dinakaran to stop work.”
EDITORIAL IN DECCAN HERALD
It is strange that Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran, against whom serious charges of encroachment and illegal occupation of public land, acquisition of wealth beyond known means and abuse of office have been levelled, still continues to discharge his judicial duties. The mere existence of charges against a person is no reason to take action against him or her. But in Justice Dinakaran’s case, at least one major charge has been found correct by an authorised government official. The Thiruvallur district collector has confirmed that ‘poromboke’ land in Kaverirajapuram in the district has been encroached upon by Justice Dinakaran. It was also reported that the district’s revenue officials were threatened and there was an attempt to remove evidence of encroachment. The judge’s explanations about the charges do not seem convincing.
His elevation to the Supreme Court has been held in abeyance on the basis of the preliminary enquiry. But the Chief Justice of India has ordered an assessment by the Survey of India to verify the veracity of the collector’s view. This is also strange. When a responsible government official has submitted a report after due consideration of facts, why should a second opinion be sought on the matter? Even if other charges against the judge are found baseless, the charge of encroachment of land makes his elevation to the Supreme Court unacceptable. And if he is not fit for the Supreme Court, he cannot continue as high court chief justice.
The credibility and prestige of the judiciary depend on the conduct and image of the judges. They have to be completely above suspicion. It is unfortunate that the Supreme Court’s collegium of judges, which recommends the selection of judges, dillydallied in Justice Dinakaran’s case. It had, in the first place, either failed to investigate the charges against him or glossed over them. And now even in the face of credible evidence against him, it has not conclusively rejected his candidature. Justice Dinakaran himself should have voluntarily kept himself away from judicial duties when the charges came into the open. He should have had enough respect for his position to do that. The CJI can advise him to stop attending to judicial work. It is also necessary to take recourse to action, prescribed by the constitution, against an errant judge, and other appropriate actions to penalise him for violations of the law.