In a letter to the Editor-in-Chief of TheHindu N. Ram, the Attorney-General for India G.E. Vahanvati has said that he had never suggested that the judiciary was corrupt as stated in an article by former Supreme Court judge V.R. Krishna Iyer in The Hindu dated December 1.
"Your paper, for which I have great respect, published in its issue dated December 1, 2010 an article by Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer in which various statements were attributed to me and adversely commented upon. Having the highest regard for Justice Krishna Iyer, whom I consider to be one of the greatest judges to have adorned the Supreme Court, I took the liberty of speaking to him directly. I reminded him that he was the greatest votary of natural justice and therefore it would have been more appropriate if I had been given a hearing before I was castigated. He heard me, I told him that I had never suggested that the judiciary is corrupt. My argument in the CVC matter was entirely different. The argument was a purely legal argument. I had submitted that integrity as an aspect of suitability cannot be gone into by the court. It was my submission that if integrity was elevated to an aspect of eligibility, then every Constitutional appointment could be challenged on that ground.
"Having been Advocate General of Maharashtra, later Solicitor General of India and now Attorney-General for India, I have experience of how easy it is to make allegations against people when they are in the zone of consideration for elevation. This was my concern. There was no question of my attacking the judiciary. My first loyalty, as an officer of the court is to the judiciary.
"After hearing me, Justice Krishna Iyer told me that he would apologise to me. He has done so. Not only has he apologised, accepting my word, he has also authorised me to publish his statement.
"I consider The Hindu to be the bulwark of journalistic standards and responsibility and I believe that personally you are the custodian of this sacred Trust. It is for this reason that I take the liberty of writing to you, enclosing the letter dated December 1, 2010 received by me from Justice Krishna Iyer. I leave it to you in your good sense to rectify the position in such manner as you deem fit."
V.R. Krishna Iyer's letter to Attorney-General:
V.R. Krishna Iyer in a letter to G.E.Vahanvati said: "I slipped into an error in a piece on the Attorney-General's submission wherein I referred in an uncomplimentary fashion to the Attorney General's alleged statement that even judges when challenged have to be investigated for their integrity, thus casting suspicion on the judiciary vis-à-vis their integrity. My article was published in The Hindu and naturally you were hurt. I have great regard for you as you are the leader of the Indian Bar. You explained to me that you have not said a word casting doubt on the integrity of the judges and that I was wrong in suggesting such an insinuation. I unhesitatingly apologise to you and accept your word denying that you have made any submissions about the integrity of the judges. Dear Attorney General Vahanvati, now that I have heard you, please hear me in the same spirit and forgive me if I have stated anything against you based on what you have not stated. You are free to publish this statement of mine made on the assumption that the media has slightly misreported your submissions in the Supreme Court in Dr. Manmohan Singh's case."