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Dinakaran issue raises heat in Rajya Sabha
New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS):
Published on 18 Dec. 2009 11:46 PM IST
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The issue of elevation of Justice P.D. Dinakaran to the Supreme Court generated much heat in the Rajya Sabha Friday with a Congress MP wondering whether the Karnataka High Court chief justice was being “targeted just because he is a Dalit”. “What is happening here? Why is Dinakaran being targeted? Is it just because he is a Dalit,” MP Praveen Rashtrapal shouted just as the Zero Hour began. This led to counter-slogans from the opposition benches but Rashtrapal said: “Do you mean to tell me he is the only corrupt judge in the country?” As the din continued, Deputy Chairman K. Rahman Khan ruled that nothing would go on record. On Thursday, Chairman Hamid Ansari accepted a motion by 75 members seeking to impeach Dinakaran on charges of land grabbing, but the fate of the plea is uncertain. “Chairman Hamid Ansari has accepted a notice served by 75 members of the Rajya Sabha on the removal of Justice Dinakaran,” an official in Vice President Ansari’s office said. A three-member committee will now examine the notice and rule on whether or not it should be discussed in the Rajya Sabha. Even if it is admitted, the fate of the petition is, however, uncertain because none of the 72 Congress members of the Rajya Sabha are among the 75 signatories to the petition, led by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). This is the third attempt to seek impeachment of a sitting judge. Last year, on the recommendation of Chief Justice of India (CJI) K.G. Balakrishnan, the Rajya Sabha had constituted a three-member panel to look into allegations of financial corruption against Calcutta High Court’s Justice Soumitra Sen. The CJI had recommended an impeachment. The panel is yet to give its report. In the infamous failed impeachment motion in 1993 initiated for removal of Justice V. Ramaswami, a three-member committee of Justice P. Sawant, Justice D. Desai and jurist Chinappa Reddy conducted the probe and indicted the judge for corruption. However, when the matter was put to vote in the Lok Sabha, the Congress abstained. A Supreme Court collegium has decided against elevating Dinakaran to the apex court - citing the impeachment notice against him. A petition seeking to launch impeachment proceeding needs to be signed, under the law, by at least 50 Rajya Sabha MPs or 100 Lok Sabha MPs. The Rajya Sabha chairman or Lok Sabha speaker then constitutes a committee of three people - a sitting Supreme Court judge, a high court chief justice and a jurist - to inquire into the charges. If the judge is found guilty and his removal is recommended, the matter is sent for voting to parliament where it has to be approved by a two-thirds majority of each house (present and voting) and an absolute majority of the total membership of each house.

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