Sunday, November 29, 2009

Justice V. Ramaswami

The committee, consisting of Mr. Justice P.B. Sawant of the Supreme Court, Mr. Justice P. D. Desai, Chief Justice of Bombay High Court, and Mr. O. Chinnappa Reddy, a jurist and former judge of the Supreme Court initially narrated the facts and the circumstances leading to the appointment of the committee. (These are being omitted because these are adequately covered in the other texts used in this book).

It went on to say that the 9th Lok Sabha was dissolved on 12-03-1991. Though the Lok Sabha was dissolved, the Speaker continued in office till the first meeting of the 10th Lok Sabha as contemplated by the second proviso to Article 94 of the Constitution.

A copy of the Notification constituting the Committee together with the Notice of Motion dated 27-02-1991 including the explanatory note regarding evidence on the charges against Mr. Justice V. Ramaswami and the announcement made by the Speaker in the Lok Sabha on 12-03-1991were communicated to the Presiding Officer of the Committee (Mr. Justice P.B. Sawant). A few days later a copy of the audit observations as formulated taking into account the comments given by Justice V. Ramaswami and copies of annexures to the explanatory note accompanying the Notice of Motion and some other material made available tot he speaker by the signatory members of the Lok Sabha at the time of giving Notice of Motion were also forwarded to the Presiding Officer.

No request of the President of India was conveyed either to Mr. justice P.B. Sawant or Chief Justice P. D. Desai, to function as Members of the Inquiry Committee. Such a request was thought to be necessary if the time spent by the two judges in the performance of the functions as Members of the committee was to be treated as ‘actual service’ within the meaning of paragraphs 11(b)(i) and 11(b) (ii) of part D of the Second Schedule of the Constitution of India read respectively with Section 2(b)(i) of the Supreme Court judges (Conditions of Service) Act and Section 2(c)(i) of the High (Page No. 189) Court judges (Conditions of Service) Act. On 16-04-1991 the Committee’s Secretary addressed the Department of Justice, among other things, for issuing Presidential Notifications to enable justice P.B. Sawant and Chief Justice P. D. Desai to function as members of the Committee. The Committee was scheduled to meet on 28-04-1991 to consider the situation arising from the want of a request by the President of Justice P.B. Sawant and Chief Justice P. D. Desai to function as Members of the Committee. On the evening of 25-04-1991 the Secretary General of the Lok Sabha forwarded to the Presiding officer a letter received from the Additional Secretary (Justice), Government of India, stating that Justice V.Ramaswami had made a representation to the President of India raising a fundamental question regarding the validity of the constitution of the inquiry Committee, stressing in particular that on the dissolution of Lok Sabha on 12-03-1991 the Motion had lapsed, and therefore, all other matters arising out of the Motion had also lapsed. The letter further stated that the Ministry of Law had obtained the opinion of the Attorney General who had said that consequent upon the dissolution of the Lok Sabha, the Motion had lapsed and the inquiry before the Committee could not container. The Ministry of Justice did not offer their opinion or advice in the matter but contented themselves by intimating the Attorney General’s view to the Secretary General of the Lok Sabha and the Secretary General of the Lok Sabha in turn merely forwarded the letter of the Ministry of Justice without indicating what further action was proposed by them in the matter.

At the initial stage, the Committee secured the services of Mr. F.S. Nariman, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court, to assist the Committee. Sub-sequentially, the services of Mr. Rajinder Singh, Senior Advocate and Mr. Raju Ramachandran, Advocate, were secured to assist the Committee in investigating the case.

A body styled as the Sub-Committee on Judicial Accountability filed Writ petition in the Supreme Court of India praying, inter alia, that the Union of India be directed to take immediate steps to aid the Inquiry Committee to discharge its functions under the judges (Inquiry) Act. they complained that the President had not issued the necessary Notification to treat the time spent by Justice P. B. Sawant and Chief Justice P. D. Desai as Members of the Committee as "actual service" within the meaning of the relevant provisions of the Constitution and the Supreme Court and the High Court judges (Condition of Service) Acts.

At its meeting held on 28-04-1991, the Committee considered the entire situation then obtaining and decided that for the time being they should not take any immediate steps to commence their work in view of the pendency of the case before the Supreme Court.

The Writ Petition filed by the Sub-Committee on Judicial Accountability (Writ Petition No. 491/91) was heard by the Supreme Court along with three other Petitions. A common judgement was pronounced by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on 29-10-1991.

For more Info:

No comments:

Post a Comment