By Sunil Garodia
The CBI has got the green signal to pursue the case against former Madras High Court chief justice V K Tahilramani, who had resigned when she was transferred to Meghalaya High Court as chief justice. CJI Ranjan Gogoi told the agency to "take further action in accordance with law".
The matters involved were the purchase of two flats in Chennai worth Rs 3.18cr and her proximity to a minister in the Tamil Nadu government. Her decision to dissolve a special High Court bench that was hearing the matter of idol theft involving influential people is also under the scanner.
The Intelligence Bureau has found irregularities in the payment for the two flats. Of the total amount paid, Rs 1.62cr was paid from a loan from HDFC Bank and the rest Rs 1.56cr was paid out of own funds.
When the collegium had transferred her to Meghalaya HC, the decision had created a lot of controversies. Some people, including advocates and a section of the media, had alleged that the collegium was harassing her. The collegium had then threatened to disclose the reasons if its decision was questioned.
It is now clear that there were serious charges of corruption against the judge. The collegium could not have overlooked them. If a judge is found to be living beyond her/his means, there is bound to be suspicion of corruption. Without knowing the full details, it is never right for outsiders to question the decision of the collegium.
What has now come to light justifies the decision taken by the collegium. When serious charges of corruption are levied against a judge, he or she cannot be given bigger responsibility. Since the removal of a judge can only be done by a Presidential order backed by a motion passed in the parliament, keeping the judge at a smaller high court is a good option till the case against him or her is resolved.