Chief Injustice of India K.G Balakrishnan

via V. Sundaram IAS published on December 29, 2010

Sir Walter Scott wrote: “An hour of crowded glory is worth an Age without a name.”

In my view, the tenure of the thirty-seventh Chief Injustice of India Konakuppakatil Gopinathan Balakrishnan, also known as K. G. Balakrishnan, which lasted from January 14 2007 and ended on May 12 2010, was the darkest age in the history of Justice and Jurisprudence in India. FOR THIS IRRESPONSIBLE JUDGE, AN HOUR OF CROWDED AND RAPACIOUS VENAL GLORY WAS WORTH MORE THAN AN AGE OF PROBITY AND INTEGRITY. I have come to this conclusion after a detailed discussion I have had with Senior Advocate P.A Chandran of Kerala High Court in Ernakulam. He had moved a petition in the Supreme Court of India against the unconstitutional and illegal appointment of Justice K. G. Balakrishnan as the Chief Justice of India on January 14, 2007.

The petitioner, Advocate Chandran, had alleged that Justice Balakrishnan was illegally appointed to the Kerala High Court in 1985 though he did not fulfil the requirement laid down in the Constitution for appointment as a High Court judge. According to Advocate Chandran, it is mandatory for a person to have a minimum of 10 years service as a District Judge or 10 years practice as an Advocate before being elevated to the High Court. In the case of Justice Balakrishnan, Advocate Chandran alleged that Justice Balakrishnan had worked merely as a Munsif Magistrate from 1973 to 1983, a post which is considered as subordinate judiciary and, hence, rendered him ineligible for the High Court Judge’s post. Since his original appointment as High Court judge was it self illegal, his subsequent elevation as Chief Justice of India was also illegal, the petitioner Advocate Chandran argued while seeking his impeachment.

A Bench comprised of Justices R V Raveendran and B Sudershan Reddy found no merit in the petition of Advocate Chandran, which, the Bench said, had been filed belatedly after 24 years. They dismissed the petition in the most casual, peremptory and untenable manner. The transitory and ephemeral private interests of Justice Balakrishnan seem to have mattered more to these Judges than the rigid and inviolable adherence to the legal and constitutional norms for proper appointments to the highest constitutional posts in the deathless cause of public interest.

Perhaps Justice Learned Hand, one of the greatest Judges America has produced during the last 200 years, had our Supreme Court Judges in view when he declared in Loubriel v. United States (9F2D 807, 808, 1926) in 1926: “There is no surer sign of a feeble and fumbling Judge’s law than timidity in penetrating the FORM to the SUBSTANCE.” Honourable men who care for the FORM or the SUBSTANCE, of Law seem to have no place on any Judicial Bench in India!

Moreover, I only wish that these unusually ‘Learned’ Judges R V Raveendran and B Sudershan Reddy had not lost judicial sight of precisely demarking and indicating the letter and spirit of the existing corpus of law which clothed them with requisite legal authority to enforce the Law of Limitation to give the kind of benefit which they gave to the former Chief Justice K.G Balakrishnan. As Judges committed to the cause of enforcement of the impersonal Rule of Law in letter and spirit, they are not expected to display all the known and unknown vagaries of an Oriental Despot like Timur or Chenghis Khan. Many of the Supreme Court Judges with known Communist affiliations and attachments seem to be boisterous in their display of ridiculous vanity on the one hand and unrestrained whimsical autocracy on the other.

Since I am not a trained lawyer, to the best of my knowledge as a common citizen, all I can say is that there is no written Law of Limitation which can be invoked to protect illegally appointed judges!!! Moreover, if such a Law exists, then the protection of that Law must be extended and made applicable to thousands of illegal and irregular appointments at all level extending to peons, sweepers, casual labourers working on daily wages in various government offices and public institutions in India. In my long and varied administrative career in the Indian Administrative Service, I have come across hundreds of cases where the Supreme Court Judges and the High Court Judges, pompously pontificating with vainglorious authority over the Principle of the Rule of Law, have passed untenable orders terminating such appointments even after the lapse of time periods extending over several decades!

The Fountain of Mercy, Compassion and Consideration must flow from the Highest Levels of Governance to the Lowest Levels in an unchecked, unhindered and unobtrusive manner and not in the reverse direction as it is happening in the Sonia-ridden and Sonia stricken India of today. The Learned Judges ought to learn that no river ever runs up the hill!

In the Highest Echelons of the Judiciary or Public Administration, the standards of integrity, rectitude, probity, decorum that have to be enforced at any cost without any fear or favour, ought to be cast in a mould of grand steel and not in a vaporously weak, shakable, easily lapsable and suddenly collapsible manner. Even if a written provision of law exists for appointing even a criminally sentenced person to a post, such merciful provisions can be readily invoked only in cases of public appointments at the lowest level, like that of sweepers and casual employees, and certainly not at the level of High Court Judges, Supreme Court Judges, I.A.S and I.P.S officers, Central Vigilance Commissioner, Chief Election Commissioner, President of India, etc,. Let me give an example to illustrate this point. If there is a written provision for appointing a person to a particular post in spite of his having undergone and completed his sentence for pick pocketing, there is no harm in such a person being considered for appointment as a sweeper or a peon. Mutatis Mutandis, on the same principle of Social Mercy and Political Compassion, we cannot elevate some High Court Judges with known corrupt, shady and murky backgrounds tarred with moral turpitude as Supreme Court Judges!

In the next part, I will elaborate on the war of words between Justice R Reghupati, former Judge of the Madras High Court, Justice Gokhale, formerly Chief Justice of Madras High Court and now a Judge of the Supreme Court of India on the one hand and former Chief Justice of India K.G Balakrishnan on the other.

The former Chief Injustice of India (CJI) K. G. Balakrishnan is very much in the news today for the most reprehensible, dishonourable, despicable, disgraceful and damnable reasons. K. G. Balakrishnan SEEMS TO BE AN INVETERATE LIAR. He has shown an extraordinarily authoritarian latitude for terminological inexactitude, semantic inexactitude and legal inexactitude.

When I saw the former Chief Injustice of India (CJI) K. G. Balakrishnan rambling, mumbling and fumbling before the media, I was reminded of the tale relating to ‘The Shepherd’s Boy’ in Aesop’s Fables (6th Century BC) who had our ‘Most Honourable’ Justices like Balakrishnan in view when he said for all time: “A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.” Preaching against the sin of lies and liars is not something confined only to the domain of ancient bards and writers. Let us now hear what the famous American Judge Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes had to say in this context: “SIN HAS MANY TOOLS, BUT A LIE IS THE HANDLE WHICH FITS THEM ALL”. That great American Judge would never have imagined that his words would become totally relevant and applicable, on all fours, to a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of a large democratic country like India, nearly 80 years after he had uttered those immortal words of sublime wisdom!
It is very clear that the former Chief Justice of Madras High Court H L Gokhale (now a sitting judge of the Supreme Court of India) had forwarded a letter of Justice R Reghupati to Chief InJustice K. G. Balakrishnan on July 5, 2009 in which Justice Reghupati had alleged that the then Union Telecom Minister A. Raja had tried to threaten him through a Senior Advocate K. Chandramohan in the Court premises. The letter of Chief Justice Gokhale even annexed a copy of the Justice Reghupati’s letter for suitable action.

Justice Reghupati, in his letter sent to the Chief Justice of Madras High Court Gokhale, had mentioned that Senior Advocate K Chandramohan, who appeared before him, tried to influence him (Justice Reghupati) by saying that the applicants, in a bail case, Dr C. Krishnamurthi and his son were family friends of a Union Minister by name A Raja.

Justice Gokhale had forwarded Justice Reghupati’s letter in which he had mentioned about the indirect and illegal interference of then Union Telecom Minister A. Raja, through Senior Advocate K Chandramohan to the CJI on 5th July 2009 itself.

Justice Reghupati, in his letter sent to the Chief Justice of Madras High Court Gokhale, had mentioned that Senior Advocate K Chandramohan, who appeared before him, tried to influence him (Justice Reghupati) by saying that the applicants, in a bail case, Dr C. Krishnamurthi and his son were family friends of a Union Minister by name A Raja.

The former Chief InJustice of India K. G. Balakrishnan, in order to protect the corrupt Minister A. Raja, has tried his best to conceal from public view this letter sent on 5th July 2009 by the Chief Justice Gokhale of Madras High Court.

To begin with, Justice K. G. Balakrishnan lied at a press conference held on December 8, 2010, that he had not received any letter from Justice Reghupati when he was the CJI and secondly that the report which Justice Gokhale had sent to the former CJI on behalf of Justice Reghupati, did not mention the name of any Union Minister having talked to Justice Reghupati on phone on June 12, 2009 and therefore there was no occasion for him to recommend any further action.

The BAREFACED LIE uttered in public at the Press Conference by the former Chief Injustice Balakrishnan has been exposed by the fact that he had in fact acknowledged the receipt of that latter. Justice Gokhale has reacted correctly to the BLATANTLY FALSE STATEMENT OF THE FORMER CHIEF (IN)JUSTICE OF INDIA in this manner: “The reported statement of the former CJI gives an erroneous impression about my role in the matter. Hence, it became necessary for me to verify the facts from the records with the CJI’s office and the record reveals that the former CJI had acknowledged the receipt in a subsequent letter dated August 8, 2009.”

Responding to a Press note issued by Justice Gokhale, Justice Balakrishnan, who is presently Chairperson of National Human Rights Commission, said, “I am certain that in the report received from the Chief Justice of Madras High Court (on August 8, 2009), no name of the Union Minister was mentioned, and that there was no case that any Minister himself made telephonic talk with the judge or threatened or influenced him (Reghupathy)”.

Thus in his own weak and untenable defense, the devious former Chief (In)Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan has made the following letter from Chief Justice Gokhale of Madras High Court public at a Press Conference.

Justice Gokhale’s letter of 8th August 2009 to the former Chief Justice of India, K.G Balakrishnan

Published in The New Express News on 16 Dec 2010

Respected My Lord,                                                           

I have received your Lordship’s letter dated 8th August 2009 forwarding a copy of the memorandum by a number of Members of the Parliament to the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India. It is concerning the alleged statement made by Mr. Justice R. Reghupathi in open Court, and Your Lordship has asked me to give my views/comments relating to the issue raised in the said memorandum. The first paragraph of the memorandum states that the controversy arose when a Chennai High Court Judge made a statement in the open Court that a Union Minister had telephoned him in a matter concerning a mark sheet forgery case with the recommendation that the accused should be given bail. This statement is contrary to what the Hon’ble Judge has stated in paragraph 3 of his letter dated 2nd July 2009 which I have forwarded to Your Lordship as permitted by the learned Judge. As per that letter the learned Judge has not made any such statement in the Court. In that paragraph the learned Judge has narrated the background to explain what he has stated in the Court, and thereafter he has stated “I observed that a counsel, who made an attempt to exert influence on the Court by using the name of a cabinet Minister, cannot be allowed to succeed in snatching an order in his favour by advancing threat”. The learned Judge has, thereafter, removed the matter from his Court.

The second paragraph of the letter of Honourable Mr. Justice Reghupathi clarifies the fact in this behalf, viz, that the Minister had not spoken to him although the advocate wanted him to talk to the Minister, and the learned Judge had not entertained the request.

3. Thereafter, paragraph 3 of the memorandum states that ‘assuming this clarification to be correct, it is still an attempt to interfere in the judicial process by the said Minister. If, on the other hand, the lawyer was bluffing, it calls for the most severe action against him”. This paragraph records certain questions which according to the memorandum arise out of this incident. Now, as can be seen from the letter of the learned Judge, he has clearly stated that the Minister did not speak to him. However, as far as the Advocate is concerned, the learned Judge has, in clear terms, stated that the Advocate did try to exert pressure on him. With respect to the conduct of the said advocate, two writ petitions are pending before another Bench of this High Court. A writ petition filed in Public Interest dated 2nd July 2009 seeking action against the Minister has been dismissed on 20.07.2009 as not pressed.

This is for Your Lordship’s consideration,

With kind regards,

Justice H L Gokhale

The patently unassailable fact is that the former CJI Balakrishnan did not disclose the fact that this report of Justice Gokhale was submitted in response to a letter from Justice Balakrishnan on August 8, 2009, seeking Justice Gokhale’s comments on a memorandum submitted to him by a delegation of Members of Parliament, who felt that action must be initiated against the Union Minister Raja.

Justice Gokhale had written it in response to an August 8, 2009 letter sent by former CJI Justice Balakrishnan asking comments on the Memorandum submitted by Members of Parliament to the Prime Minister for action against Union Telecom Minister Raja. Justice Balakrishnan failed to state his stand on the unwarranted interference by Union Minister Raja which was made known to him by Chief Justice Gokhale in his letter of July 5, 2009.

I am also presenting below the full text of Justice R. Regupathi’s July 2, 2009 letter to the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court which was forwarded by Chief Justice Gokhale of Madras High Court to the Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan on July 5, 2009. It is this letter which the former Chief Justice of India Balakrishnan tried to cover up during his many press interviews.

Full text of Justice R. Regupathi’s July 2, 2009 letter to the Chief Justice Gokhale of the Madras High Court

The following is the letter dated July 2, 2009 written by Justice R. Regupathi, then Judge of the Madras High Court, to the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court containing the relevant part where there is a specific reference to Advocate R.K. Chandramohan.

“On 12.06.2009, at about 2 p.m. during Lunch Recess, while I was in the Chamber, High Court, Madras, my Office Assistant, Mr. Mujibur Ali, informed me that Mr. Chandramohan, Chairman, Bar Council of Tamil Nadu, is waiting and seeking for an appointment to meet me and, immediately, I allowed him to come in. To start with, he discussed about the general subject on Advocates and so proceeding, he said that two persons, who are father and son/accused in a criminal case, are family friends of a Union Minister by name Raja, and that the petition filed by them for anticipatory bail must be considered favourably. Simultaneously, he handed over his mobile phone by saying that the Union Minister is on the line to have a talk with me. Right away, I discouraged such conduct of Mr. Chandramohan and told him that the case would be disposed of in accordance with law, if listed before me.

“Subsequently, on 29.06.2009, second anticipatory bail petition came to be filed for the same accused and on behalf of Mr. Chandramohan (counsel on record for the petitioners/accused), who was present in the court, Mr. Masood, Advocate, argued by stating that some new points need to be submitted and, for such purpose, the Case Diary must be summoned. Adverting to the counter filed by the prosecution and referring to the view I had already taken during the previous occasion and pointing out that there was no change of circumstance to positively consider the case of the petitioners, it was conveyed that there was no valid reason or ground to grant the prayer in the 2nd petition. It was also observed that the counsel may argue the case in detail, however, this time orders would be passed on merits and they would not be allowed to withdraw the petition. Again, the counsel insisted that the case diary must be called for and the case be heard in detail with reference to the materials collected during the course of investigation. I have impressed upon the representing counsel by explicating that a like direction could be given to the prosecution only in the event of the Judge satisfying that such course is inevitable and absolutely necessary in a given situation and that, on mere demands and as a matter of routine, such exercise cannot be undertaken.”

“At that time, Mr. Chandramohan stood up and made a similar demand and when I emphatically declined to accede to his adamant demand, he vociferously remarked that the court is always taking sides with the prosecution and not accepting the submissions made by the counsel for the accused while giving importance to the Prosecutor. On such pointless remark, I said that the counsel engaged to argue on his behalf has made his submission and he is not supposed to pass such slanderous and derogatory remarks; for, all these days, the court has been passing orders after hearing the parties and assessing the cases on their own merits and in accordance with law. In spite of that, Mr. Chandramohan, insisted that the Case Diary must be summoned and the matter be adjourned to some other day. Since Mr. Chandramohan highly raised his voice and his approach towards the court was quarrelsome, I told him that a person like him, an advocate holding position as Chairman of a State Bar Council, should not behave in such a fashion. Still the learned Advocate was outburst and uncontrollable, and I observed that a counsel, who made an attempt to exert influence on the court by using the name of a Cabinet Minister, cannot be allowed to succeed in snatching an order in his favour by advancing threat. Due to such odd experience, I had to direct the Registry to place the papers before Your Lordship for obtaining orders to post the case before some other learned Judge.”

“The case concerned was taken up at the end in the afternoon and inside the court hall, there were about 4 to 5 Advocates present and no one from the Press was there. That being so, the oral observations actually made came to be translated by the Print and Electronic Media with their own interpretations and ideas …….”

“I have written this letter/report to apprise Your Lordship the actual state of affairs Involved.”


By citing the letter of Chief Justice Gokhale dated 8th August 2009, the former Chief (In)Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan seemed to be under a vain delusion that he had outwitted Justice Gokhale. The walkie-talkie deception and dissimulation of Chief (In)Justice K. G. Balakrishnan was thoroughly exposed by the intrepid reporter Abraham Thomas of THE PIONEER Newspaper in New Delhi in his Front Page story today (16-12-2010, Thursday) under the title ‘Balakrishnan quotes wrong letter in defence’. I offer my hearty congratulations to Abraham Thomas on his absolutely objective, ruthlessly factual and juridically balanced reporting. Abraham Thomas has admirably succeeded in his fearless pursuit of and the effort to state the Truth about the former Chief (In)Justice Balakrishnan.

Former Chief (In)Justice of India KG Balakrishnan reiterated several times that he was not aware that former Union Minister A Raja sought to influence Justice R Reghupathy and backed his claim with a report sent to him by then Madras High Court Chief Justice HL Gokhale on August 8, 2009.

But what is to be noted is that Justice Balakrishnan conveniently disregarded a crucial letter written to him by Justice Gokhale on 5th July 2009, a month prior to the August 8 2009 report, in which he discussed Justice Reghupathy’s letter naming the then Union Telecom Minister Raja as the accused.

The cussed refusal of the former CJI Balakrishnan to immediately respond to this letter of 5th July 2009 from Chief Justice Gokhale of Madras High Court has to be condemned by the Supreme Court of India, today, in the strongest possible language. I am a tax-paying citizen of India and it is my Constitutional right to make this request to the Supreme Court of India.

If the person who threatened the High Court Judge Justice Reghupati had been a Minster in the State Government of Tamil Nadu, then the former Chief Justice Balakrishnan could easily have wriggled himself out of the troubled situation by advising Justice Reghupati that he could have dealt with the issue himself at the level of the Madras High Court itself. But since in this case, the Minister who threatened Justice Reghupati happened to be a Union Cabinet Minister, it was very much the moral, legal and Constitutional responsibility of the highest judicial functionary, the Chief Justice of India, to have effectively intervened to protect the Constitutionally-mandated dignity and independence of the judiciary in India.

Against this factual background, there is no doubt whatsoever that the former CJI Balakrishnan stands fully exposed to the charge of his complete failure to discharge his Constitutional responsibility of defending and maintaining the independence of the Judiciary against the planned and criminal onslaughts by corrupt Ministers like A Raja.

Reacting to the new developments following the public verbal exchanges between truthful Chief Justice Gokhale and the not-so-truthful Chief Justice Balakrishnan, Justice Reghupathi has said, “I am thankful to Justice Gokhale… I am not supposed to react. I did not make the issue public even at the time of the incident since I wanted to uphold the dignity of the legal fraternity. It applies to me today even after retirement.”

With a view to clear his name in the matter, Justice Gokhale said, “It became necessary for me to verify the facts from the record with the CJI’s office,” giving clear indications that the present Chief Justice of India S.H Kapadia was taken into confidence before issuance of the Press release.

The former CJI’s letter of August 8, 2009 finds mention in Justice Gokhale’s Press note which referred to the receipt by Chief Justice Balakrishnan of the letter written by Justice Gokhale, on July 5, 2009. Interestingly, the former CJI letter had said, “Vide letter dated July 5, 2009 you (Justice Gokhale) have forwarded to me a detailed letter/report dated July 2, 2009 of Justice R Reghupati explaining the actual state of affairs concerning the alleged misconduct of a Union Minister of the Government of India reported in the media.”

Does this not make it clear to all concerned that the former Chief Justice of India Balakrishnan stands indicted as an INVETERATE LIAR by his own acknowledgement letter to Justice Gokhale?

It is my considered view that the former Chief Justice Balakrishnan has not only SHAMED the Indian Judiciary but also DISGRACED the Dalit community from which he hails.

Noted jurist Ram Jethmalani, former Law Minister of India in the Atal Behari Vajpayee’s NDA Government, and currently the President of the Supreme Court Bar Association, has termed the former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan’s statement as “rash and irresponsible”. He has also said: “Instead of rushing with his rash and irresponsible statements, the former CJI should have taken care and consulted the file by summoning the Registrar of the Supreme Court.”

It was J Gopikrishnan the ace reporter from THE PIONEER Newspaper in New Delhi who first exposed the 2G scam of the then Union Telecom Minister A. Raja more than two years ago. He has now brought out certain vital facts relating to former Chief Justice of India Balakrishnan’s blatant attempts to shield the corrupt Union Minister A. Raja.

It is heartening to note that the Madras High Court in its order of 7th December, 2010 has clearly and categorically identified former Union Minister A Raja as the accused who tried to influence Justice R Reghupathi to grant bail to a father-son duo of Dr C Krishnamurthy and his son in a criminal case.

According to J. Gopikrishnan this puts the former Chief Justice Balakrishnan in a spot! Moreover The Pioneer was the first newspaper to report on July 1, 2009 itself that former Minister A. Raja was the person who had tried to put pressure on Justice R Reghupathi to grant bail to Dr C Krishnamurthy and his son. Krishnamoorthy is a close associate of Raja and belongs to the Minister’s hometown, Peramballur. He is the owner of the building which housed a law firm run by Raja before he became a Minister. Krishnamoorthy is also the managing director of a Coimbatore-based real estate company, Kovai Shelters Promotors India Pvt Ltd, formed on January 19, 2007. As per the documents available with the Registrar of Companies, Raja’s nephew Dr R Sridhar and nieces R Anandabhuvaneswari and R Santhanalakshmi are directors in this company and jointly hold 45 per cent shares in Kovai Shelters.

Immediately after this expose by The Pioneer on July 1, 2009, the entire Opposition demanded Union Telecom Minister A. Raja’s resignation and intervention of the Prime Minister. But all of a sudden, after four days, on July 5, 2010, Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan in an interview to an English daily declared that “No Minister had called the Judge” and termed the incident as a mischief by the Advocate.

But, J. Gopikrishnan is absolutely right when he asserts the fact that former Chief Justice Balakrishnan was in receipt of Justice Reghupathy’s letter of July 2, 2009, in which he had clearly identified Raja as the Union Minister who had tried to influence him through advocate RK Chandramohan. Raja may not have spoken directly to Justice Reghupathy, but it is clear that he tried to dictate his terms to him through advocate Chandramohan.

This is evident from the following passage of Justice Reghupathy’s letter to CJI Balakrishnan: “To start with, he (Chandramohan) discussed about the general subject on advocates and proceeding further he said two persons who are father and son/accused in a criminal case are family friends of a Union Minister by name A Raja and that the petition filed by them for anticipatory bail must be considered favourably.”

The emphasis on word “must” shows that Chandramohan, a close friend of Raja, was not merely making a request to Justice Reghupati but was also directing him, to act in a particular manner, on behalf of the then Union Telecom Minister Raja.

However, the former Chief Justice of India Balakrishnan issued a statement to the Press in August 2009 dismissing the ugly incident “as a closed chapter”.

Incidentally, around the same time, the Supreme Court also covered itself with public disgrace by staying the order of the Central Information Commission for publication of Justice Reghupathy’s 2nd July 2009 letter to Balakrishnan about the incident. The Central Information Commission had ordered to publish the letter on a petition filed by RTI activist Subash Chandra Agrawal. As a classic instance of lopsided intervention, and with supreme contempt for the larger public interest on the one hand and blatant disregard for the sacred cause of judicial independence and dignity on the other, the Supreme Court stayed the order of the Central Information Commission and as a diversionary tactic, referred the matter to a Constitution Bench, which is yet to settle the case.

Does not the official and public conduct of this former Chief (In)Justice of India Balakrishnan raise fundamental issues relating to the rotten and corrupt Indian Judicial system that enables such sly, devious and corrupt men, totally unfit for public appointments of any kind, to get catapulted by the Sonia Congress System to the high and mighty constitutional offices in India?

Let me quote an article titled ‘The CJI is the visible symbol of the judiciary’ as reported in The Hindu 13 May 2010:

“The Supreme Court has an illustrious lineage of Chief Justices who gave new directions to the judiciary, expanded the scope of legal rights, introduced new concepts and practices and worked to reform the system. But unfortunately Justice Balakrishan’s tenure may not be considered so distinguished and impressive, as his helmsmanship was seen to be lacking in dynamism and creative and positive thinking. He rather acquired a negative and obstructionist image. In some of the decisions and actions during his stewardship of the highest court, and in his views about issues and positions on them, he came through as a defender of orthodoxies and technicalities with a sense of cynicism and helplessness aiding inaction. On occasions he seemed to distance himself from issues and problems, suggesting that the solutions lay elsewhere.”

“Even a streak of evasiveness, lack of interest and recourse to generalities could be discerned in some responses. The CJI should not only be earnest, but be seen to be so too. The contentious issue of bringing the office of the CJI under the Right to Information Act and the handling of the charges against the chief justice of the Karnataka high court P D Dinakaran have not brought laurels to the highest court. The CJI is part of a system and cannot be solely blamed for its inadequate responses to problems. But as the leader of the system and its visible symbol, he has the highest responsibility to ensure that convincing and effective solutions are found for them.”

Let me now refer to another news report published in the Hindustan Times, New Delhi, on May 05, 2010:

“Barely a week before Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan retires, it has emerged that a close relative of his was appointed a Kerala High Court judge in January last year …… .”

“The Law Commission of India, the advisory body of the government on complex legal issues, has criticised the prevalence of “uncle judges” in the higher judiciary in its report on judicial reforms in August 2009. They have stated that “A person whose near relation or a well-wisher is or has been a judge in the higher courts or is a senior advocate or is a political high-up stands a better chance of becoming a judge.”

Former Chief Justice of India V. N. Khare has said that “the sole criteria for public appointments should be overriding merit. However, in case a relative of an influential personality is being considered, it becomes the dominant factor and merit is ignored.” This seems to have been the case with the appointment of the “Uncle Judge” former Chief Justice Balakrishnan’s relative as a Judge of Kerala High Court.


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