Markandey Katju row churns furore in Parliament over corruption in judiciary

Jul 22 2014, 14:30 IST
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SummaryGovernment admitted that a Supreme Court collegium during the UPA rule had recommended extension of a judge in Tamil Nadu who was under corruption cloud.

Amid furore created by AIADMK members in Parliament for the second day running, in the wake of comments by Markandey Katju, Government today admitted that a Supreme Court collegium during the UPA rule had recommended extension of a judge in Tamil Nadu who was under corruption cloud.

"Name the DMK Minister at the Centre," shouted agitated AIADMK members who stormed the Well of the Lok Sabha as they were not satisfied with the response given by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, forcing two adjournments of the House.

The Rajya Sabha also saw disruption on the issue, with AIADMK and DMK members clashing on the matter when it assembled for the day leading to a brief adjournment.

Responding to AIADMK members' demands in the Lok Sabha, Prasad said in 2003, the collegium had "certain reservations" and had made some enquiries and decided that the case of this judge should not be taken up.

But later during the UPA rule, a clarification was sought by the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) as to why he should not be recommended. The collegium again said he should not have been recommended at all.

Later, the Justice Department of the Law Ministry wrote a note to the collegium following which it said that his case can be considered for some extension, Prasad said, adding the matter stood there thereafter.

The Law Minister said the judge has since retired and was no more now. The judges of the collegium have also retired.

Quoting Supreme Court's observation in Shanti Bhushan case, he remarked the "clock cannot be put back".

The concern raised by the AIADMK members was well appreciated and there is imperative need to improve the system of judges appointment, he said, adding the government was "quite keen" to appoint a National Judicial Commission for making such appointments.

At one point, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge raised a point of order that there was a restriction on discussion on judiciary and judges in Parliament.

To this, the Law Minister said "I am not making any observation on the conduct of a judge."

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