Why Markandey Katju remained silent for a decade?

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Markandey Katju
Former Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju's charge that three ex-Chief Justices of India had compromised in giving extension and elevation to an additional judge of Madras high court, despite charges of corruption against him, at UPA government's order has once again brought the tenure of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh under question. If one goes by Katju's startling revelation this reflects how UPA regime had direct interference in the matters of the judiciary. But a question also arises why Katju kept his mum over this issue for ten long years?

What is the case?

Katju in an explosive blog post, has accused a Supreme Court collegium of giving extension to the judge at the instance of the then UPA government due to pressure from an ally, apparently the DMK. Katju served as chief justice of Madras High Court from 2004 to 2005.

Markandey Katju rakes up corrupt practices in judiciary

In his blog, Katju also named the three CJIs but refrained from naming the ‘corrupt' judge. Katju made the charge while alleging how Justices RC Lahoti, YK Sabharwal and KG Balakrishnan made ‘improper compromises' in allowing the judge, against whom there were several allegations of corruption, to continue in office, said a PTI report.

In an interview to a private news channel Katju said, "These three former CJIs made improper compromises. Justice Lahoti who started it, then Justice Sabharwal and then Justice Balakrishnan. These are CJIs who can surrender. Is a CJI going to surrender to political pressure or not going to surrender to political pressure?"

Congress leader HR Bhardwaj, who was the Law Minister at the time, confirmed that the judge was backed by a large group of MPs who complained about Justice Katju's opposition, says a NDTV report.

No dearth to Congress's woes:

Katju's revelation has added more trouble to the woes of the Congress which is already facing credibility crisis post Lok Sabha poll debacle and for the rampant corruption cases during UPA's a decade of rule. Barely a day ago, the party severed its ties with ally National Conference in Jammu & Kashmir. This sensational expose from the present Press Council of India chief that the Manmohan Singh Government succumbed to the pressure of its allies will dampen the party's image even more.

The grand old party of India, which has been reduced to its lowest strength in the Lok Sabha, is facing a credibility crisis after the Congress-led UPA's ten years of rule was mired into monumental scams.

The exposure also puts the credibility of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh under docks whom the former judge has accused to succumbing to pressure from his allies.

This issue has given rivals AIADMK and BSP an opportunity who are now seeking an inquiry into the allegations.

What took Katju so long to reveal?

A pertinent question that the Congress has raised after this sensational expose is that what took Katju a decade to bring this fact into light? Katju was a Supreme Court judge between 2006 and 2011 why didn't he raise his voice then? Even after becoming the PCI chief in 2011, Katju had the liberty to expose this nexus between the then Government and the SC collegium. But he sat over the matter for almost three years and came up with a blog just a day before the new dispensation was forced to debate over the ongoing Gaza conflict. Thus the time of his blog could be certainly questioned.

Katju not new to controversies:

Ever since he took over as the PCI chief, Katju has been controversy's favourite child and made several insensitive statements.

Katju had earlier stirred controversy with his statement that, "Ninety per cent Indians vote in droves like sheep and cattle. They are like a herd of cattle voting along caste and religious lines. This is the bitter truth. And because Indians vote like livestock, there are so many criminals in Parliament."

Several Congressmen are thus alleging that Katju's is making attempts to seek publicity and trying to woo the BJP-led NDA Government by defaming their party.

Credibility of judiciary in dock:

This case has certainly brought the credibility of the judiciary under dock which owns the reputation of remaining unaffected by Government's intervention. A judiciary is expected to be unbiased and that the collegium remains unaffected by functioning of the Central Government. If the CJIs had really made favours to the tainted judge, this will diminish one's faith in the judiciary. It will send a message that the judiciary is no more a place where a lay man can hope for justice. This will send direct signal that if a corrupt person is sitting at a judge's chair how one can get expect justice from him. And what makes matters worse that if those sitting at country's apex court are turning a blind eye to such cases and making political favours then the country is obviously not treading at the right path.

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