“The Strange Case of Justice P.D. Dinakaran” is getting stranger.
Rewind: the name of the chief justice of the Karnataka high court is recommended for elevation to the Supreme Court, reportedly without two members of the SC collegium being consulted. Then a brouhaha breaks out over Dinakaran’s assets. He denies the allegation but drops out of a tour to Australia.
Meanwhile, there is an execrable attempt to paint the scandal as a conspiracy against Dalits.
The Karnataka bar decides to boycott court proceedings where Justice Dinakaran is present till his name is cleared. Last Monday, the advocate-general of Karnataka, Ashok Harnahalli, supports Dinakaran, saying the media reports tranished the image of both the judiciary and the chief justice.
Now, with reports emerging that the Thiruvalluvar district collector had submitted an “unfavourable report” on Justice Dinakaran’s land holdings (according to media reports, justice Dinakaran and his family members hold approximately 450 acres, about 200 acres of which are encroached government lands), the same Ashok Harnahalli has done an about-turn.
“Even if there is prima facie [evidence of irregularity], I would be able to say that the Chief Justice step down. But as advocate general it would not be right on my part to do so until that satisfaction is expressed by the CJI and Supreme Court Collegium,” Harnahalli says.
But the fundamental question remains the one asked by Supreme Court lawyer Rajeev Dhavan in the Delhi tabloid Mail Today three weeks ago:
“If Justice Dinakaran is not fit to be a Supreme Court judge, why is he fit to be a High Court judge? Did the collegium slip up when they made him chief justice of Karnataka? Or, indeed, when he was appointed a judge?…”
Cartoon: courtesy Prasad Radhakrishnan/ Mail Today
Also read: The strange case of Justice P.D. Dinakaran