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SC favors I-T probe into former CJI’s alleged disproportionate asset case

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NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday gave a green signal to an I-T probe against former Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan’s family members as they have been indicted of amassing properties that refute their registered sources of income.

Picture Credit: ndtv.com
Picture Credit: ndtv.com

The bench whitch looked into the aforementioned case include Justices Dipak Mishra and Prafulla C Pant. The bench asked the Income Tax department to conduct a thorough inquiry into their(the Chief Justice’s family) sources of income and seek assistance from the attorney general in order to cater to the PIL against the perpetrators that is the former CJI( Chief Justice of India), his daughter, son-in-law and brother for amassing assets disproportionate to the registered income during his tenure in the office.

“Judges Protection Act may apply to some aspects but the I-T authorities can proceed against them. It is the duty of the I-T department to find out the sources of income. It has not been done,” the bench said, as quoted in a leading daily.

The PIL has been filed by an NGO Common Cause. the PIL alleges that a lump sum amount of money was amassed by the family members of the former CJI during his tenure in the apex court. The petition was filed in 2013.
“This amassing of wealth beyond their known sources by the kin of Justice Balakrishnan during his tenure as judge/ Chief Justice of the Supreme Court clearly indicates that this wealth was given to these people as illegal gratification to him,” alleged advocate Prashant Bhushan before the bench. He also added that 21 properties were bought by the family members of Justice Balakrishnan through tainted means.

Bhushan also referred to media reports quoting director general of I–T (investigation) who said three of Justice Balakrishnan’s kin were found in possession of “black money”, as stated in a Times of India report.

The case will be heard on November 17.

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Another Deadline Missed, No Draft Scheme on the Cauvery Dispute Till Now

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme.

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The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.
Supreme Court of India. Wikimedia commons

The Centre yet again failed to submit a draft Scheme on the Cauvery river water dispute before the Supreme Court on the ground that the Prime Minister and other ministers were campaigning in Karnataka, which Tamil Nadu flayed as “brazen partisanship”.

Seeking 10 more days to finalize the scheme, Attorney General K.K. Venugopal told Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud: “A draft scheme has been placed before the Cabinet. Because of Karnataka elections, the Prime Minister and all other Ministers are in Karnataka. Before that the Prime Minister was abroad (in China).”

It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.
Parliament of India, wikimedia commons

The Centre’s submission was countered strongly by senior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Tamil Nadu, who said: “Sorry to say, the Central government is politicizing the issue. They are worried about their electoral fate in Karnataka. Election in Karnataka is on May 12 and somehow they don’t want to do it till then. We have enough of it. It is brazen partisanship of the Union of India. It is the end of co-operative federalism.”

The apex court in its February 16 judgement had directed the Centre to frame a Scheme within six months in accordance with the recommendation by the Cauvery River Water Tribunal for constitution of the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) and Cauvery Regulatory Authority (CRA), which Karnataka opposes strongly.

On the expiry of the six-week deadline, the Centre sought extension of time till the completion of the electoral process in Karnata for submission of the Scheme. Tamil Nadu filed a contempt petition against the Centre for failure to act within the deadline.

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During Thursday’s hearing, the court directed the Karnataka government to respond on how much of the four TMC of water it can release by month end. It also sought response from the Centre on the steps taken by it since the pronouncing of the judgement for putting in place a scheme for implementing its order on the sharing of Cauvery water among Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry.

In the course of the hearing, the court asked Karnataka to release 4 TMC of water by Monday.

The court said that even if the Centre has not framed the scheme, Karnataka, under the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal award, was obliged to make monthly releases to Tamil Nadu.

The court directed the next hearing of the matter on Tuesday. (IANS)

 

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