CBI row: Justice Sikri turns down London assignment after report links posting to Alok Verma’s removal

By: | Published: January 14, 2019 10:15 AM

Justice Sikri was nominated by CJI Ranjan Gogoi to the three-member panel that also included Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge to decide the fate of CBI chief Alok Verma.

Justice A K Sikri, Alok Verma, A K Sikri controversy, A K Sikri CSAT, CSAT, AK Sikri Commonwealth Tribunal, A K Sikri news, AK Sikri Alok Verma, A K Sikri judge, A K Sikri verdictThe second most senior judge Sikri is scheduled to retire from the Supreme Court this year on March 6. (PTI)

Senior Supreme Court judge Justice A K Sikri, who was nominated by CJI Ranjan Gogoi to the panel which decided on the removal of Alok Verma as CBI chief, has withdrawn his consent to a month-old offer from the government for an assignment in London. The Indian Express reports that Justice Sikri has written to the Law Ministry to formally withdraw his consent for the job.

The move comes hours after ThePrint published a report linking his appointment to Alok Verma’s removal last week.

Justice Sikri was nominated by CJI Ranjan Gogoi to the three-member panel that also included Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the leader of Congress in Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge to decide the fate of CBI chief Alok Verma. The Prime Minister favoured the removal of Verma while Kharge opposed the move. It was Sikri whose concurrence with the Prime Minister’s decision made the whole difference and the CBI chief was shunted out by a 2:1 majority judgement.

However, the government had nominated the senior Supreme Court Judge to post of president in the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT) almost a month before the Supreme Court sent Alok Verma’s case to the three-member panel. As per available information, the government had taken Justice Sikri’s consent in the first week of December, while the Alok Verma judgement by the Supreme Court came on January 8. Justice Sikri attended the selection panel meeting on January 10.

ThePrint also reported that Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had written to CJI Gogoi apprising him of the External Affairs Ministry’s decision to nominate Justice Sikri to the CSAT and seeking his consent. The CJI replied to the government in the affirmative after checking with Justice Sikri, it said.

According to The Indian Express, Justice Sikri expressed his ‘pain’ over the connection being drawn over his nomination to the CSAT with the decision of the three-member panel that removed Verma despite there being ‘no correlation’ between the two. The second most senior judge Sikri is scheduled to retire from the Supreme Court this year on March 6.

The CSAT members are selected by Commonwealth Governments on a regionally representative basis from among persons of high moral character who must hold or have held high judicial office in a Commonwealth country. The members are appointed on a four-year term which may be renewed only once.

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