Stung by stunning allegations of quid-pro-quo while serving as the Supreme Court judge, Justice AK Sikri has withdrawn his consent to be on the London-headquartered Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitration Tribunal. Justice Sikri’s decision to withdraw his consent came hours after he was accused of compromising his integrity by being in touch with the Centre’s Narendra Modi government for post-retirement perks.
Confirming the news, former Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju, said on Monday, “Justice Sikri yesterday withdrew his consent to be on the CSAT.” Justice Katju wrote a detailed Facebook post after speaking to Justice AK Sikri over the controversy. According to Justice Katju, who was the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court where Justice Sikri served as a judge, members of the media fraternity were unjust in criticising him for judicial impropriety.
“If the media has any shame left they will now apologise to Justice Sikri, whose image they tried their best to sully and besmear,” wrote Justice Katju.
Justice Sikri’s vote was decisive in the removal of Alok Verma as the CBI Director on 8 January this year. He was the third member of the high-powered selection committee also comprising Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge. Kharge had opposed the removal of Verma, while Modi and Justice Sikri voted in favour of his ouster. This despite the fact that former Supreme Court judge Justice AK Patnaik, who was asked to monitor the CVC probe against Verma by the Supreme Court, had said that he found no evidence of corruption against the sacked CBI Director.
Sikri agreeing with Modi on the removal of a seemingly upright CBI officer based on allegedly motivated CVC allegations had given rise to demands that he should not accept any post-retirement offers. It was in this context that his consent to a plum posting in London before attending the selection committee meeting to decide the fate of Verma became a hugely controversial topic of discussion.