Below is the full unabridged text of the memorandum sent to the CJI under the auspices of the Madras-based Forum for Judicial Accountability, which details serious charges of land grabbing, corruption, abuse of office and lack of probity against Justice P.D. Dinakaran.
Our objective is not to cause disrepute to the image of the honourable judge or of the judiciary. To quote from the memorandum:
Coming as it does in the middle of a national debate on the disclosure of assets of judges, l’affaire P.D. Dinakaran assumes importance, not just in the way the apex court deals with it, but the manner in which the judiciary deals with the media which publishes details of the case.
At the same time, the timing raises disturbing questions. Why are the charges surfacing now against a Madras HC judge who is reputed to have disposed 72,795 cases? Is somebody out to get him? If Justice Dinakaran is unsuitable for the Supreme Court, is he suited to continue as the CJ of Karnataka High Court, or even as a Judge?
9th September, 2009
Hon’ble Mr.Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, The Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Mr.Justice B.N. Agarwal, Hon’ble Mr. Justice S.H. Kapadia, Hon’ble Mr.Justice Tarun Chatterjee, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Altamas Kabir, Supreme Court of India, New Delhi.
Sub: Representation against Mr. Justice P.D.Dinakaran, Chief Justice, Karnataka High Court, amassing of huge assets, corruption and serious irregularities.
As per newspaper reports (The Hindu, dated 28th August 2009) Mr Justice P.D. Dinakaran, presently Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court, has been recommended by the collegium of the Supreme Court to be appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court.
The said judge was a judge of the Madras High Court between 19.12.1996 to 06.08.2008. We, the members of the Bar of the Madras High Court are greatly perturbed by the news of his possible elevation to the Apex Court, in view of disturbing reports that are strong pointers to the abuse of office and lack of probity by Mr Justice P.D. Dinakaran.
We bring to your notice several aspects concerning the Judge including (1) huge rural land holdings, illegal appropriation of Government and public land amounting to land-grabbing, illegal constructions, ownership of urban properties, (2) certain inappropriate and startling judicial orders and (3) conduct raising issues of gross impropriety and lack of probity. We feel the materials given below call for a detailed investigation before taking up his case for appointment as a Judge of the highest Court.
The following are the issues of deep concern:
I. Amassing Wealth and Appropriation of Public Property
It is common knowledge in the Bar at Madras that the Judge has acquired vast extents of lands, near his hometown of Arakkonam, Vellore district, and in Thiruvallur district, Tamil Nadu. The acquisition started before his appointment as a judge of the Madras High Court and is reported to have increased manifold during his tenure as a judge.
All these land holdings in the villages are beyond the ceiling limit under the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act, 1961, as per which a family of five persons can possess not more than 15 standard acres of land.
However, more shocking is the unbecoming conduct of the judge in encroaching upon Government lands and public property meant for the villagers, amounting to land-grabbing and depriving the poor of their resources and livelihood.
1. LANDS IN KAVERIRAJAPURAM VILLAGE (440 Acres)
(a) In the villages of Kaverirajapuram, Tiruttani taluk, Tiruvallur district; Anaipakkam, Arakkonam taluk, Vellore district; and Mulvoy, Arakknonam taluk, Vellore district, the extent of lands possessed by the judge is approximately 500 acres. Most of the property is in Kaverirajapuram, a village whose population predominantly consists of Dalits, Irulas (scheduled tribes) and most backward classes like Naidus, Boyars and others. The total extent of the village is about 1,700 acres.
Annexed to this petition are: (i) A map showing the details of land held and owned by the judge and his family members; and public and Government lands occupied by him, and (ii) Extracts from village ‘A’ register which provides the classification of land of the relevant survey numbers in the judge’s occupation, from reliable sources. The current ‘A’ register reflecting transfer of patta is not accessible. (iii) Photographs showing the naming of the village road leading to his lands which is in Tamil and reads as “Emperor of Justice P.D. Dinakaran Road, Kaverirajapuram” (translation in English) and the fencing of the land. (iv) Extracts of Revenue Standing Orders on Assignment of Land.
(b) In all, the judge is in possession of approximately 440 Acres in Kaverirajapuram village alone, almost one-fourth of the village.
Out of this 440 acres:
(i) 310.33 acres are ‘patta’ lands owned by the judge and his family (in his name, his wife Dr Vinodini’s name, his two daughters Amudha Porkodi and Amirthra Porkodi, one Cannan and another person; the latter two are reported to be his close relatives).
(ii) About 41.27 acres is public land classified as Government poramboke, eri (lake, stream) and other water bodies, pathway and tamarind grove.
(iii) About 88.33 acres are classified as Government ‘Anadhinam’ lands (which can be allotted only to landless poor as per board standing orders of the Tamil Nadu Government).
2. STARTLING MODUS OPERANDI
i) Reports are that the patta lands originally belonged to backward and most backward classes. The purchase of lands seems to have started before his appointment as a judge and continued thereafter.
ii) Patta lands have been bought in the name of the judge, his wife Dr Vinodini, his unmarried daughters Amudha Porkodi and Amirtha Porkodi, one Cannan and another person, the latter two are reported to be close relatives. Daughter Amudha Porkodi got married recently on 15.12.2008.
iii) Vast extents of Government ‘poromboke’ lands, Government anadhinam lands, waterbodies like lakes, canals, streams, common village pathways and an ancient mud fortress abutting his patta lands were progressively encroached upon.
iv) The villagers were then prevented access to these common property resources. Nearly 600 families of Dalits and landless poor in the village are reported to have sought distribution of Government poramboke and anandhinam lands to them as per G.O.(Ms) No.241 dated 12.09.2006 issued by the State Government. They are yet to receive the assignment.
v) Immediately thereafter, these common /government lands were fenced in by the judge.
There is every possibility that after this representation, the fence around the encroached areas may be removed. But as on today, the fence exists around the Government lands and village common resources, and we write this after some of us personally inspected the fence and the relevant records and maps. The fact remains that the common village lands near the judge’s property are out of bounds for the villagers.
Enquiry reveals that the local police is used to prevent access to the area.
iv) The Government anadhinam lands are meant to be assigned only to landless poor for small holdings and personal cultivation as per standing orders of the board of revenue, Tamil Nadu Government.
v) The Government poramboke lands also are meant for common enjoyment of the villagers and cannot be occupied by any individual. Under a recent scheme of the State Government, they can be distributed to the landless poor.
vi) The water-bodies too are meant only for common enjoyment of the villagers.
vii) By erecting a fence the judge has deprived the local villagers access to common property resources of the village, on which many of them depend for their livelihood.
viii) The villagers are not able to have access to the water bodies and due to extensive use of water for the judge’s farm where there are huge fruit orchards and other cultivations, the water source for the village has got depleted. Large bore wells/ open wells are said to have been dug inside the farm.
ix) It is reported that the entire village administration and government machinery has been exploited to provide facilities and free labour for the judge’s property. It is reliably learnt that the judge is attempting to manipulate revenue records to obtain pattas for the public and government lands in his occupation.
x) It is an open secret in legal circles that the judicial officers and staff of the judiciary are often asked to supervise and facilitate the maintenance and upkeep of the farm.
xi) We have specific reports that anyone who seeks any information like survey numbers and extent regarding even the village common lands and Government lands is intimidated and not provided the information. Villagers are under mortal fear in this regard.
xii) Even the village road that leads to the property has been named as ‘Neethi Arasar P.D. Dinakaran Saalai’’. (“Emperor of Justice, P.D. Dinakaran road” )