Tuesday January 23, 2018
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BJP suspends Kirti Azad over corruption allegations against Jaitley

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New Delhi: The Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday suspended former cricketer and party MP Kirti Azad for “anti-party activities” after he levelled allegations of corruption in the DDCA against Finance Minister Arun Jaitley. This also came two days after his controversial tweet against the latter on Monday night.

In a one-line statement, the BJP said Azad was suspended for his “anti-party activities.”

The suspension order read: “Over the past few months you have breached party discipline and conducted anti-party activities. Inside and outside Parliament you conducted yourself in a manner that amounts to indiscipline and anti-party activities. You made several statements to carry out a false propaganda. So the parliamentary board has suspended you from the party membership.”

Azad in a controversial tweet had alleged threat to his life, warning Jaitley that he was not afraid of “impotent” people. However, in an apparent volte-face just one hour after the controversial post, Azad tweeted that his account was “hacked”.

“I was visited at home by so many agencies to take precaution against threat to my life. Dear darta nahin hoon napunsako se (sic),” Azad tweeted at 11:51 pm on Monday night.

Azad has since deleted his tweet, but NewsGram is in the possession of a screenshot thereof.

Kirti Azad

However, he was able to take control of his Twitter account just one hour later, claiming his account was hacked and that the tweet on Arun Jaitley was not posted by him.

Azad – who has alleged massive financial irregularities in Delhi’s cricket board – also called for a CBI inquiry in the scam in the Lok Sabha the same day, daring Jaitley to sue him.

The BJP leader’s suspension comes on a day when BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha described him as a “hero”.

Calling Kirti Azad the “hero of the day,” the outspoken actor-turned-politician, who had rubbed the Bharatiya Janata Party the wrong way during the Bihar assembly elections too, urged the party not to take action against the former cricketer for alleging corruption in the DDCA when Jaitley headed it.

Sinha had a piece of advice for Jaitley, who headed the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) for 13 years till 2013.

Veteran BJP leader L K Advani had declined to contest elections when he was accused of involvement in the hawala scandal in the 1990s.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that Jaitley would come out of the DDCA row with flying colours — a la Advani.

Azad’s suspension also comes a day after senior Bihar BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi demanded disciplinary action against the former cricketer for targeting Jaitley over the DDCA issue.

(With inputs from agencies)

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CJI faces revolt from four senior most SC judges

The four judges -- Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B. Lokur besides Justice Chelameswar -- released a letter they wrote to Justice Misra a couple of months ago

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Supreme court went into a frenzy as four senior judges revolt against CJI. Wikimedia Common
Supreme court went into a frenzy as four senior judges revolt against CJI. Wikimedia Common
  • The sudden revolt against Chief Justice of India (CJI) by the four senior-most judges of Supreme Court has sent the whole judicial system into an uproar.
  • The four judges accused the CJI of corruption and breaches in a surprise Press Conference.
  • Judge Loya’s death’s controversy, supposedly, sparked this reaction out of the other judges.

Divisions in the Supreme Court burst out in the open on Friday when four senior-most judges took an unprecedented step of addressing the media to accuse Chief Justice Dipak Misra of breaching rules in assigning cases to appropriate benches, with one of them pointing to the plea regarding the mysterious death of Special CBI judge B. H. Loya.

The hurried press conference was called to reveal CJI's corruption. Pixabay
The hurried press conference was called to reveal CJI’s corruption. Pixabay

At a hurriedly called press conference at his residence, Justice J. Chelameswar and three other colleagues said the Supreme Court administration was “not in order” and their efforts to persuade Justice Misra even this morning “with a specific request” failed, forcing them to “communicate with the nation” directly.

The four judges — Justices Ranjan Gogoi, Kurian Joseph and Madan B. Lokur besides Justice Chelameswar — released a letter they wrote to Justice Misra a couple of months ago, conceding that he was the master of roster but that was “not a recognition of any superior authority, legal or factual of the Chief Justice over his colleagues”.

Asked specifically if they were upset over reference of the matter seeking a probe into the suspicious death of Judge Loya, Justice Gogoi said: “Yes.”

Judge Loya's death is said to have happened due to a conspiracy. Pixabay
Judge Loya’s death is said to have happened due to a conspiracy. Pixabay

Judge Loya, who was hearing a case relating to the killing of gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh in an alleged fake shootout in which BJP chief Amit Shah was named an accused (later discharged), died of cardiac arrest in 2014. His family has raised doubts over the circumstances in which Judge Loya died and have sought an independent probe into it.

Plea’s seeking probe came up for a hearing in the Supreme Court on Friday when the top court expressed concerns over it and said it was a “serious issue”. It asked the Maharashtra government to produce all the documents related to the case before January 15.

In a seven-page letter, the four judges said they were not mentioning details of the cases only to avoid embarrassing the institution because “such departures have already damaged the images of this institution to some extent”.

The clash among the judges in the highest court also comes in the wake of a controversial order in November in which Justice Misra declared that the Chief Justice “is the master of the roster” having exclusive power to decide which case will go to which judge.

The CJI called himself 'master of roster' further enraging other judges. Pixabay
The CJI called himself ‘master of the roster’ further enraging other judges. Pixabay

The CJI had given the order a day after a two-judge bench headed by Justice Chelameswar had passed an order that a five-judge bench of senior most judges in the apex court should be set up to consider an independent probe into a corruption case in which bribes were allegedly taken in the name of settling cases pending before Supreme Court judges.

Holding that the Chief Justice was only the first among equals, the four judges contended that there were well-settled and time-honoured conventions guiding the Chief Justice in dealing with the strength of the bench required or the composition thereof.

“A necessary corollary to the above-mentioned principle is the members of any multi-numbered judicial body, including this court, would not arrogate to themselves the authority to deal with and pronounce upon matters which ought to be heard by appropriate benches, both composition-wise and strength-wise with due regard to the roster fixed,” they wrote in the letter.

They said any departure from the two rules would not only lead to “unpleasant and undesirable consequences of creating doubt in the body politic about the integrity of the institution” but would create “chaos”.

The four judges also touched upon another controversial issue, the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) on the appointment of judges over which the Supreme Court had locked horns with the government.

The four judges also touched upon other problematic issues. deliason.files.wordpress.com
The four judges also touched upon other problematic issues. deliason.files.wordpress.com

The government, the letter said, had not responded to the communication and “in view of this silence it must be taken that the MoP has been accepted by the government on the basis of the order of this court”.

Justice Chelameswar told the media that they were “convinced that unless this institution is protected and maintains its requirements, democracy will not survive in the country or any country… The hallmark of a democracy is independent and impartial judges.

“Since all our efforts failed… Even this morning, on a particular issue, we went and met the Chief Justice with a specific request. Unfortunately, we could not convince him that we were right.”

Justice Gogoi said they were “discharging the debt to the nation that has got us here”.

The government appeared to distance itself from the controversy, saying the judges should sort the issue themselves.

Minister of State for Law P. Chaudhary said: “Our judiciary is one of the known, recognised judiciaries in the world. It is an independent judiciary. At this stage, I think no agency is required to intervene or interfere. The Chief Justice and other members should sit together and resolve. There is no question of panic.”

the matter should be resolved among the judges themselves, says P. Chaudhary.

The Supreme Court split had an immediate political fallout, with CPI leader D. Raja saying after meeting Justice Chelameswar that Parliament will have to devise methods to sort out problems like this in the top judiciary.

Two judges, Justice S. A. Bobde and Justice L. Nageshwar Rao, are understood to have called on Justice Chelameswar. IANS