Markandey Katju calls out media's lies, defends Justice Sikri
Retired Supreme Court judge Markandey Katju wrote a long post on social media slamming media for attempting to taint the image of Justice Sikri by 'sensationalizing' facts. Justice Sikri became a victim of a witch hunt after it was revealed he would take up a job at Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT), post retirement in March. After the controversy, he declined the offer.
A media report brought to attention the job offered to Justice Sikri and cast a shadow on his vote which led to the transfer of former CBI Director Alok Verma. Soon the opposition and Centre's critics questioned Justice Sikri's 'constitutional morality', although the post was offered to him in December 2018. It was projected a case of quid pro quo, only it wasn't. The facts state otherwise, as Katju pointed out.
Former Chief Justice of Delhi HC, Katju didn't like the treatment meted on Justice Sikri and took to social media to defend his puisne judge in the same court. Katju recalled how Justice Sikri used to sit in his chambers till late hours, preparing judgment for the next day. He called Justice Sikri's integrity impeccable and noted he never heard any complaint against him.
Katju wrote it was unfortunate the media 'hounds' were baying for Justice Sikri's blood. Taking on ThePrint, which published the story about Sikri's job, Katju said it wasn't a 'plum post' as told. He clarified the CSAT is a body which resolves disputes among Commonwealth employees and takes up a case only when a complaint is received. The members don't reside in England.
"They go to the Tribunal when there is some case to decide. That usually happens only 2 or 3 times a year. No regular salary is paid to its members," he wrote. Members aren't like judges of the International Court of Justice who get regular salaries. "To call it a 'plum posting' is a complete distortion," he added.
Further, he wrote Justice Sikri was offered the post last month. He agreed to it after taking the consent of CJI Ranjan Gogoi. "To link up the decision of the Committee to remove Verma from the CBI with Justice Sikri's consent given a month earlier to be on the CSAT, as the story in theprint.in has tried to do, is absurd," he added.
"Justice Sikri yesterday withdrew his consent to be on the CSAT. If the media has any shame left they will now apologize to Justice Sikri, whose image they tried their best to sully and besmear," he concluded.