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Katju's alleged corrupt judge: Late S Ashok Kumar | Balakrishnan defends, Bhardwaj confirms pressure

KG Balakrishnan, ex-Chief Justice of India (CJI) and currently chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, told The Hindu that, contrary to ex-SC Justice Markandey Katju’s blog post alleging he appointed a judge known to be corrupt to the Madras high court, there were no adverse reports against the late Justice S Ashok Kumar.

Kumar had passed away in October 2009.

Balakrishnan said that he had not received “any report of corruption from the High Court Chief Justice [who] only said that Justice Ashok Kumar had close connections with some DMK leaders. In view of this, Justice Ashok Kumar was transferred to the Andhra Pradesh High Court. I don’t know whether these allegations were deleted [as alleged by Justice Katju] by the then Chief Justice of the High Court.”

“Only at the time of consideration for appointment as a judge, the views of the collegium judges are taken into account. At the time of confirmation, normally no such consultation takes place. Also report of the Intelligence Bureau is sought only for initial appointments.”

Meanwhile, former UPA-1 coalition law minister HR Bhardwaj, who served between 2004 and 2009, overlapping with the period of Katju's allegation, has confirmed that the government had been under pressure to extend the tenure of Kumar, reported the Times of India. The paper also reported the recriminations and comments that have flown thick and fast across the political spectrum. Katju went on the news TV interview circuit yesterday but walked out of one interview when asked about why he had taken so long to make his complaint public.

Katju had written in a blog on Sunday that an unnamed additional judge, whom Katju and three CJIs including Balakrishnan allegedly knew to be corrupt, was nevertheless re-appointed as additional judge and later, by Balakrishnan, made a permanent judge.

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