Inquiry against ex-Chairman, NHRC Shri K.G. Balakrishnan
Our PIL seeks a writ of mandamus to the Union of India to comply with the Court’s order of May 10, 2012 in our PIL WP (C) 35/2012 by making a reference for holding an inquiry against Shri K. G. Balakrishnan, Chairman, National Human Rights Commission. We have comprehensively rebutted the specious arguments advanced by the UOI in support of its contention that there was no misbehavior on the part of Justice Balakrishnan, either as a judge, or as Chairman, NHRC.
In the hearing on September 16, 2015, our counsel brought to the Court’s notice that regrettably, the prayer seeking the removal of Justice Balakrishnan as chairperson of NHRC had become infructuous since he had already demitted the office in May 2015. He urged that this instance raised serious concerns regarding the accountability of judiciary in the country and that the Court should direct the CBI to register a preliminary enquiry into the charges of disproportionate assets against Justice Balakrishnan under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Court was reluctant to delve into the allegations of ‘benami’ properties allegedly acquired by him but observed that source of income had not been duly examined by the Income Tax authorities and the issue could be looked into.
This matter was taken up on February 13, 2017, when the Court directed the Centre to file its response on our plea seeking a probe into alleged disproportionate assets amassed by Justice Balakrishnan. The direction came during the hearing of the IA filed in 2016 by Common Cause seeking an amendment to its earlier prayer for the removal of Justice Balakrishnan as Chairperson NHRC, as he had already demitted the office, rendering the plea infructuous. The bench, comprising Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi, asked the Solicitor General, to file a reply within six weeks. It is likely to be listed on July 21, 2017.