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No incriminating evidence against ex-CJI Balakrishnan: Centre

No incriminating evidence against ex-CJI Balakrishnan: Centre

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has been informed by the Centre that an income tax probe into the allegations against NHRC Chairman K G Balakrishnan and his relatives of having amassed disproportionate assets during his tenure as CJI has unearthed no incriminating evidence.

The government has also said that Balakrishnan's conduct during his tenure as CJI cannot be ground for his removal from post of Chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) under the Protection of Human Rights Act, as its provisions cannot be invoked "unless there is proved misbehaviour and mere allegations is insufficient to make a reference to this court".

Referring to an April 2012 supplementary status note of Finance Ministry and Central Board of Direct Taxes on the investigation into the allegations against Balakrishnan and his relatives, the Ministry of Home Affairs' (MHA) has said "on the basis of evidence collected during the course of inquiries it could not be established that the properties were held benami on behalf of Respondent 2 (Balakrishnan)".

"Despite there being no allegations regarding professional receipts, they were nevertheless examined and it was found there was no material to link such payments to any cases pending in the concerned court," the MHA affidavit also said referring to the note.

The ministry has also said that Balakrishnan's case is different from that of Justice Soumitra Sen as "allegations against Justice Sen pertained to the period when he was an advocate and the misconduct had continued while he was a judge.

"The case at hand cannot be compared to that of Justice Sen's as Respondent 2 (Balakrishnan) is not holding a judicial office."

Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court had resigned in September 2011 just days before his impeachment motion was to be taken up in the Lok Sabha after he was found guilty of misappropriating Rs 33.23 lakh in a 1983 case.

The Rajya Sabha had already overwhelmingly approved his impeachment motion.

The affidavit was filed in response to a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause seeking initiation of removal process of former Justice Balakrishnan from the post of NHRC Chairman for his alleged "misbehaviour" and purchase of benami properties.

The MHA affidavit also referred to the opinion given by the Law Ministry, which has said that "functions of Chairman, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) cannot be said to be an elongation of the judicial functions which the Respondent 2 discharged in this court as the Chief Justice of India".

The MHA also submitted that "proved misbehaviour", which is a ground for removal of the NHRC Chairman, should relate to conduct in current office and not a previous one.

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