Legal experts favour probe against Balakrishnan, kin

January 11, 2011
VR Jayaraj | Kochi
Source: http://www.dailypioneer.com

Legal luminaries in Kerala on Monday demanded investigations into the allegations leveled against former Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan and his relatives. While Justice (Retd) VR Krishna Iyer called for a judicial probe against Balakrishnan and his relatives, legal experts like Sebastian Paul demanded his resignation as chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Responding to the reports that Justice Balakrishnan’s son-in-law PV Sreenijin, a lawyer and a former Kerala Youth Congress vice-president, had amassed huge wealth within a short time, Justice Iyer, who was chairman of Kerala’s legal Reforms Commission, said the charges should be probed by a "panel of two or three chief justices".

Stating that the allegations against Justice Balakrishnan were shocking and humiliating (to the judicial system), Justice Iyer said, "Allegations have been raised not just against Balakrishnan’s son-in-law but against his daughter and several other relatives as well." The Prime Minister had the responsibility to initiate an investigation, he said.

It is alleged that Sreenijin, husband of Justice Balakrishnan’s daughter KB Sony, had bought lands and property worth several crores of rupees for himself, his wife and others in the past four years despite the fact that he had declared to the Election Commission in 2006 that he owned only `25,000 and three sovereigns of gold.

The charges leveled against the former CJI had brought disrepute to the entire judiciary, Justice Iyer said. "When Balakrishnan, hailing from the SC/ST category, became Chief Justice I had said it was the start of the Balakrishnan era. But I won’t say so now. I now feel sad that for being a judge myself once," the former Supreme Court judge said.

Referring to Justice Balakrishnan’s controversial stand on the letter written to him by Justice HL Gokhale with reference to A Raja, Justice Iyer said, "I am surprised by his statement. I would describe it as Balakrishnan’s blasphemy." Justice Balakrishnan’s case underlined the need to constitute commissions for appointments and performance of judges, he said.

According to former MP and legal expert Sebastian Paul, a probe against Justice Balakrishnan, "a person who had created a situation where the people had lost faith in the judicial system", was unavoidable, "Let the truth come out. When such a probe takes place, Justice Balakrishnan should stay away from the position of NHRC head, he said.

Kaleeswaram Raj, a legal expert of repute, also called for the resignation of Justice Balakrishnan as the head of NHRC. "There should be a probe. In the meantime, he should step down owning moral responsibility (for the controversy), if there is anything like that," he said.

MB Rajesh MP, State president of DYFI, the CPI(M)’s youth outfit, said in Kochi that it was quite natural that the needle of suspicion was turning towards former Chief Justice Balakrishnan, "though I am not making any charges against him". The DYFI also said that Sreenijin had amassed more wealth than those exposed by the media so far.

Meanwhile, State Congress president Ramesh Chennithala said that the party would examine the allegations leveled against Justice Balakrishnan’s son-in-law Sreenijin, a member of the Pradesh Congress Committee. Asked whether there would be action against Sreenijin, Chennithala said he had not received any formal complaint in this regard.

Krishna Iyer wants NHRC chief to resign

PTI | Source: http://www.thehindu.com

A Malayalam television channel had aired a report stating that P. V. Sreenijan, son-in-law of Justice Bakakrishnan, had within a span of four years purchased assets valued at over Rs. 7 crore. Former Supreme Court judge V. R. Krishna Iyer has demanded a judicial probe into this.

Allegations of amassing of property worth crores of rupees have surfaced against Chief Justice of India K. G. Balakrishnan's son-in-law. Former Supreme Court judge V. R. Krishna Iyer has demanded a judicial probe into it.

In a statement here, Mr. Iyer urged Parliament and the Prime Minister to appoint a high-powered commission to inquire into the issue.

"The President of India must require politely (Justice) Balakrishnan to resign", Justice Iyer said of Justice Balakrishnan who is the National Human Rights Commission Chairman.

Malayalam television channels had aired a report stating that P. V. Sreenijan, son-in-law of Justice Bakakrishnan, had within a span of four years purchased flats, landed properties in prime locations in various parts of Ernakulam and Thrissur districts, which are at present valued at over Rs. 7 crore.

Mr. Sreenijan and Justice Balakrishnan declined to comment on the allegations.

Mr. Sreenijan, a lawyer by profession and a former vice president of Youth Congress, is married to Justice Balakrishnan’s daughter K. G. Sony and had unsuccessfully contested the 2006 assembly polls from the Njarackkal assembly constituency in Ernakulam.

As per the report, Mr. Sreenijan’s affidavit to the Election Commission then had stated that he had a bank balance of Rs. 25,000 and no landed property.

"The Press has disclosed now that the son-in-law and daughter have amassed wealth under suspicious circumstances indirectly due to dubious linkage with the Chief Justice. This is atrocious and must be inquired into", Justice Iyer said.

There should be a Performance Commission into the conduct of judges where common people who have grievances of judicial corruption may have access and the commission should investigate into the charges without fear or favour, affection or ill will, he said.

Kerala PCC President Ramesh Chennithala today said he would look into the allegations.

T. V. Rajesh, state Secretary of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), youth wing of the CPI(M), has also demanded a probe into the allegations.

However, K.G. Bhaskaran, Special Government Pleader in the Kerala High court and younger brother of Justice Balakrishnan, denied all allegations against the family. He told PTI that the allegations were not true.

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