In a stunning revelation on Sunday, it emerged that the Centre’s Narendra Modi government had nominated Justice AK Sikri as president/member of the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal after he would have retired from the Supreme Court on 6 March this year.
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.
Quoting Supreme Court sources, The Print website reported that Union Minister for Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad, had written to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi in December last year, apprising him of the External Affairs Ministry’s decision to nominate Justice Sikri to the coveted post and seeking his consent. CJI Gogoi responded in affirmative after consulting with Justice Sikri.
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. However, it has now emerged that he had already accepted a plum posting in London before attending the selection committee meeting to decide the fate of Verma.
Janta Ka Reporter spoke to a couple of senior sources in the External Affairs Ministry and both of them confirmed the news of Justice Sikri being nominated by the Modi government.
However, former Supreme Court judge Justice Markandey Katju termed the news against Sikri as fake and said that he will reveal the truth on Monday. He tweeted, “It is fake news. I have spoken in detail with Justice Sikri , & tomorrow will publish true facts on my fb page and Twitter.”
Established under a Statute agreed by Commonwealth governments in 1965, the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal operates under a Statute agreed by Commonwealth governments. It was established to meet the requirements of the Agreed Memorandum on the Commonwealth Secretariat (1964) which was revised by governments in 2005.
The CSAT’s vision is to help create and sustain a Commonwealth that is ‘mutually respectful, resilient, peaceful and prosperous and that cherishes equality, diversity and shared values.’ It supports member governments, and partner with the broader Commonwealth family and others, to improve the well-being of all Commonwealth citizens and to advance their shared interests globally
Along with Bangladesh and Pakistan, India is one of the six member countries from Asia in the CSAT.
Social media has exploded with angry reactions after the news of Justice Sikri accepting plum posting by the government after his retirement became public. Here’s how they reacted;
The Government has a lot of explaining to dohttps://t.co/5XgQT1NoIc
— Ahmed Patel (@ahmedpatel) January 13, 2019
This is comes increasingly close to the Darkest Hour in Indian judicial history.
Back then, the SC surrendered its autonomy during the #Emergency under AN Ray who was beholden to Mrs Gandhi.
But even then the brazenness was not so obvious & chilling…. https://t.co/UAncIuMGto
— Akash Banerjee (@akashbanerjee) January 13, 2019
Then simple question is: Why CJI put Justice Sikri on the high-power committee deciding Verma’s case when CJI himself had given consent to Govt’s proposal on nomination of Justice Sikri at CSAT, London after his coming retirement? https://t.co/9f925KYKmB
— Om Thanvi (@omthanvi) January 13, 2019
Now why isn’t this surprising anymore? Every single institution has been destroyed either by politicians or by members of that institution themselves. Superb news break by @maneeshchhibber https://t.co/z3I0gIOIdm
— Rohini Singh (@rohini_sgh) January 13, 2019
Justice Sikri, whose vote decided Alok Verma’s fate, & who retires in 50 days, gets Modi govt & CJI’s nod for plum postinghttps://t.co/8m5SxGKy8l
— Prashant Bhushan (@pbhushan1) January 13, 2019
Justice Sikri, whose tie-breaker vote led to #AlokVerma‘s sacking, gets rewarded with a plum posting by the govt.
— Shama Mohamed (@drshamamohd) January 13, 2019
— Aarti (@aartic02) January 13, 2019