Refusing to be cowed down by Chief Justice of India JS Khehar’s decision to transfer a previous application seeking an investigation into late Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul’s allegations of bribe-taking by two senior-most judges to the judicial side, the latter’s widow Dangwimsai Pul has written to the Supreme Court Registry seeking responses on uncomfortable questions posed by her.
In a four-page letter (28 February) addressed to the Supreme Court Secretary General, Ms Pul has asked:
“Whether the Registry had requested the Hon’ble Chief Justice to place the letter (dated 17 February) before the ‘appropriate judge’, which would mean Hon’ble Justice J Chelameshwar being the senior-most judge available for action on the letter?”
The Supreme Court Registry has yet to respond to Ms Pul’s latest missive.
A copy of the 28 February letter, which follows Ms Pul’s missive to Vice-President Hamid Ansari, is in possession of The Quint. Ms Pul’s actions have come in the wake of her late husband’s 8 August 2016 suicide note that alleges that besides Congress leaders, two serving Supreme Court judges had taken bribes in the matter relating to the January 2016 imposition of President’s Rule on Arunachal Pradesh.
Why Was the Letter Not Placed Before the Senior-Most Available Judge?
Seeking to put the higher judiciary in a tight corner, especially over the circumstances under which her 17 February application to the CJI was transferred to the Supreme Court’s judicial side – to be dealt with Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit – Ms Pul has demanded information on:
When and under what circumstances the Hon’ble Chief Justice took the decision to convert the letter (of 17 February) to a Criminal Writ Petition and whether reasons for the same were recorded?
Pointing out that the “matter assumes great significance for the integrity of the institution and for larger public interest, including independence of (the) judiciary”, Ms Pul has asked “How was the matter placed before the Bench of Hon’ble Justices AK Goel and UU Lalit when the issue pertained to such (a) serious matter and even if the letter was to be referred to the judicial side [although no such prayer was made and it was impermissible to (do) so] why was it not placed before the bench presided by Hon’ble Justice Chelameshwar, the senior-most available judge?”
“Did Not Seek Relief on the Judicial Side”
Stating in clear terms her “request” that her written demand seeking information on six questions not be placed “before Hon’ble Chief Justice and Hon’ble Justice Dipak Mishra in view of the sensitivity of the matter”, Ms Pul has reminded the Supreme Court Registry that she withdrew her 17 February application because of the “extraordinary developments which were likely to seriously impair my right to pursue the matter in accordance with the law and fearing the dismissal of the Writ may cause incalculable harm.”
Ms Pul insists in her latest request to the SC Registry that “During the hearing (on her 17 February application to the CJI), it was categorically pointed out that I had not sought any relief on the judicial side and that the letter sought permission strictly in light of the law declared by the Constitution Bench of Supreme Court in K Veeraswami v. Union of India case”.
The Veeraswami case judgement says that “no criminal case be registered under Section 154, CrPC, against a judge of the High Court, chief justice of High Court or judge of the Supreme Court, unless the Chief Justice of India is consulted in the matter.”
The other questions posed by Ms Pul are:
“Whether decision on the administrative side… was indeed taken and if so, a copy thereof be supplied.”
“If not, was any decision at all taken on the latter, on the administrative side?” If not, notings on the same be supplied, recording reasons for inaction on the same.
“Whether attention of the Hon’ble Chief Justice was drawn to the judgement of Constitution Bench in Veeraswami’s case?”