The Supreme Court Monday reserved its order on a petition seeking a presidential reference into allegations of misconduct against National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chairman K.G. Balakrishnan when he was the chief justice of India.
Besides allegations of misconduct against Balakrishnan, it has also been alleged that his two sons-in-law and brother amassed wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income when he was in the Supreme Court 2007-10.
Petitioners NGO Common Cause and Mahohar Lal Sharma sought Balakrishnan’s removal as chairman of the NHRC. Sharma’s plea was dismissed.
An apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice J.S. Khehar was told that Balakrishnan’s official cook was given two flats by then Tamil Nadu chief minister from his discretionary quota.
The court asked counsel Prashant Bhushan, who appeared for the NGO, whether it could direct the government to ask the president to make a reference to the apex court for enquiring into the allegations against Balakrishnan.
Bhushan told the court that the intervention of the court was the only way out to bring out the truth as the government had not decided on the complaint against Balakrishnan for nearly a year.
He told the court that he wrote to the prime minister with all the documents supporting his allegation against Balakrishnan Jan 1, 2011 but the same has not been responded to so far.
Bhushan told the court that the allotment of two plots to former chief justice of India’s cook could not have been possible without use of influence.
He told the court that Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati in the course of the last hearing of the case told the court that one of the law firms paid Rs.60 lakh to one of the sons-in-law of Balakrishnan even though no service was rendered by him.
While the attorney general submitted a two-page report in a sealed cover to a bench headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia but orally said that the payment of Rs.60 lakh was being probed and so far it had not been linked to Balakrishnan.
The court said that “this is clear that in consequence to your representation investigation was done”.
Bhushan sought to delink an income tax department investigation from his complaint.
Hearing petition by Sharma, the court asked him how could the apex court direct that the government through the council of ministers should ask the president to make a reference to the apex court for probe into allegations against Balakrishnan.
Justice Khehar said that the “Supreme Court was in the loop of the procedure (for making a presidential reference) and it came at the third stage and you want it to take the first stage”.
He said that there is a procedure under the law and the same could not be deviated from.
The court told Sharma that if son, sons-in-law or even daughter, who are major, do something wrong, how could the parents be faulted for their actions.
The court dismissed his petition asking him to approach the government.