So will the story of inquiry into the alleged irregularities in the allotment of government plots to judges go anywhere? Lo and behold. Supreme Court has stayed the notices served to 27 honourable judges, sitting and retired. Reason? More than 5 years have elapsed since the allotment and the high court acted in a hurry. Really? Weren’t the coal blocks allocated more than 5 years ago before the SC ordered an investigation? Since the alleged irregular allotment happened 5 years ago there is all the more reason to show urgency in getting to the bottom of the case. Isn’t it?
There is a very interesting story unfolding in the court room of the Gujarat High Court. It is about the allotment of prime plots of land in Gandhinagar at highly subsidised price to 27 senior judges by Narendra Modi ji while he was chief minister of Gujarat. The complaint of irregularity has been made by two senior judges themselves in a letter addressed to the Gujarat chief justice. The court taking cognisance of the complaint has issued notices to the 27 judges, serving and retired and to the Gujarat Government. Today there is a story tucked away on page no 10 of Indian Express that one of the judges who was the complainant has sought to withdraw his complaint. Another judge Justice JB Pardiwala, one of the judges of the larger bench constituted to hear the case has recused himself. Meanwhile the new acting Chief Justice of Gujarat High court is apparently one of the allottees of the plots irregularly allotted. Another judge who is part of the larger bench constituted to hear the case revealed that he too had applied for the allotment.
It is one hell of a story. The question is why was Modi ji so ‘meharbaan’ over judges? Why give away public land at cheap rates to judges who anyway get spacious bungalows to stay in while they are in service? And why the judges were so brazen in accepting the government bounty?
This is the ugly face of our democratic set-up. This is one story that no news channel or opposition party is talking about. Why? Because no one wants to rub the ‘judicial fraternity’ the wrong way.
Do keep a tab on the story. See where it goes. Would be interesting to see how the case unfolds. By the way, the outgoing chief justice VM Sahai had a heated exchange with the government lawyers who were opposed to any inquiry in the case and according to reports tried to intimidate the chief justice.