Rubbishing Press Council of India chairman Justice Markandey Katju’s charge that he ordered tapping of the telephone of a former judge of Allahabad High Court, former Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia today said as CJI he could not be expected to do “any unauthorised job”.
“You can’t expect the Chief Justice to do any unauthorised job”. Unless name of such judge is dropped, I cannot respond,” Justice Kapadia said while reacting to Katju’s allegation in a blog post.
Justice Katju, a former Supreme Court judge, alleged in the blog that he had complained to Justice Kapadia about this judge (without giving his name). Katju said he got three mobile numbers of “agents” of this judge who were collecting money on his behalf. He also claimed to have given these numbers to Justice Kapadia and as per his (Katju’s) request, Justice Kapadia had ordered tapping of his telephone which revealed corrupt practices by the judge.
However, Justice Kapadia denied having ever ordered tapping of phones of the judge.
“As I have said earlier that I have transferred a number of judges (on various charges) but I have to follow a protocol. Unless a complaint is received in writing from some judge of the same court or other court with specific instance no Chief Justice can take action,” Justice Kapadia told PTI.
“A letter has to come from the complaining judge about the corrupt judge with a specific instance. Thereafter I have to put my remarks and then forward it to my collegium. Such a proposal (for transfer of judge) would then go the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO),” he said.
“If no such letter about the judge (against whom action is sought to be taken) is enclosed, then the PMO will send back the file. So I have to follow the procedure”, he said, adding “in this case, no such letter was received by me.”
In his blog, Justice Katju has not mentioned the name of this judge in his blog. “I do not know whom he is referring to,” Justice Kapadia said.
“No letter was given to me giving specific instance.
No one had cited any particular example or instance to show that the judge (referred to by Katju) was corrupt. In such a case, how could I have acted upon,” Justice Kapadia asked.
“After a Supreme Court judgement on the issue, the collegium has laid down that there has to be a memorandum between the Chief Justice of India and the law ministry…. everything has been set out clearly,” he said.
If the name of the judge from Allahabad High Court is not disclosed, then how someone can expect any action against him, Justice Kapadia asked.
Justice Katju said in his blog that Justice Kapadia took no action against this judge although he did not make him the chief justice of any High Court or judge of the Supreme Court.
Justice Katju further said, “In response to my statement Justice Kapadia has said that he did not remember this. It is strange that he has no recollection of this, but the record would be existing with the intelligence agency concerned, and perhaps also in the official file of the Chief Justice,” Katju said in the blog.