Citizens' Issues
Activists demand probe in matters associated with ex-CJI Altamas Kabir

Lucknow-based activists have prayed Chief Justice Sathasivam for an independent enquiry into various allegations associated with outgoing Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, including alleged leak of an order on medical entrance test passed on his last day


Lucknow-based activists, Dr Nutan Thakur and Asok Pande have demanded a probe by independent body into various allegations associated with outgoing Chief Justice Altamas Kabir. The allegations include, leakage of an order passed on his last day, allegations of not promoting Bhaskar Bhattacharya, former Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court for vested reasons and exerting undue pressure on Supreme Court Collegium to elevate a Judge to the Supreme Court.

 

In a letter sent to Chief Justice P Sathasivam, the activists said, at 8.36am on 18th July, Gopal Sankaranarayanan, a lawyer from the Supreme Court published an article 'Into the Darkness' on a website 'Bar and Bench'. The article stated, "In a little while, on his last day in office, the Chief Justice's court will deliver the much awaited judgment concerning the validity of the national medical entrance test to be conducted by the Medical Council of India. For the better part of the last week, senior counsel and junior advocates alike have without compunction shared a story that the appeals by the private colleges will be allowed with a declaration that the MCI has no jurisdiction, and that Justice Dave will dissent from this view. The judgment, it is confidently touted, runs into more than 190 pages and in excess of 300 paragraphs. It is my fervent hope that this tale is false - a figment of some perverse and destructive mind. In a few hours, we will know the truth."

 

On the same day at 11am, the three Judge bench including the then Chief Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice AR Dave quashed the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) notification for holding common entrance tests for Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), Bachelor of dental surgery (BDS) and post-graduate medical courses.

 

Calling the pronouncement of almost same kind of judgement by the Bench headed by the ex-CJI, the activists have an independent enquiry preferably by Committee consisting of retired Chief Justice or Justice of Supreme Court, eminent advocate like Prashant Bhushan, Fali Nariman and social activist like Anna Hazare or Aruna Roy.

 

Dr Thakur and Mr Pande also cited articles from Times of India, Hindustan Times and Bar and Bench.

 

Here is what the report from the Hindustan Times, says...

"Meanwhile, CJI Kabir was caught unawares when informed that an article by SC advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan - uploaded on a website two hours before the verdict - had leaked the judgment and even mentioned that Justice Dave's would be the dissenting vote. The article talked about "gossip" within court circles that the appeals by private colleges against the NEET would be allowed.  When questioned about the 'leak', Justice Kabir said he was surprised and shocked. "What can I say about it?" he said.  The outgoing CJI was on his way to his farewell party when media persons questioned him."

 

An article published by Times of India on 19th July titled "Collegium stalls outgoing CJI's attempt to push judge's appointment to SC" also talks about former CJI Kabir's meeting with the Collegium. It says...

 

In an unprecedented step, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Altamas Kabir had - a fortnight before his retirement - proposed before the Collegium of four senior-most Supreme Court Judges for recommending to the Centre to appoint a high court Chief Justice as Judge of the apex court. The CJI had on July 2 requisitioned a meeting of the Collegium comprising himself and justices P Sathasivam, GS Singhvi, RM Lodha and HL Dattu. Once they assembled, the Collegium members were told by the CJI about the proposal. But, the CJI was told that the President has signed the warrant of appointment designating justice Sathasivam as the next CJI and fixed July 19 for administering oath to him. Since, the warrant of appointment had come, it would be against precedents and tradition for the outgoing Chief Justice of India to push for appointment of Judges to the high courts or the Supreme Court.

 

Not convinced, Justice Kabir sought individual opinions of each member of the Collegium on the tradition and precedent thrown at him to stall his last proposal as the head of the judiciary. All four senior-most judges concurred that it would not be proper for the outgoing CJI to push for an appointment to the Supreme Court especially when his successor had been issued warrant of appointment. He was told that in the past, the outgoing Chief Justices had in fact requisitioned the meeting of Collegium but it was only to address an emergency, like an ad-hoc Judge's tenure in a high court coming to an end prior to the new CJI taking oath warranting extension or denial thereof. Unconvinced by the logic presented to scuttle his proposal, the CJI, it is learnt, flared up accusing the Collegium members of "ganging up" against him. With the overwhelming majority in the Collegium not favouring breaching the tradition and precedent, the CJI had no option but to drop his proposal.

 

Another article published on 12 July 2013 on the Bar and Bench site, claimed that Bhattacharya, former CJ of Gujarat HC alleged that the real reason for him not being denied a place in SC was opposition to elevation of (ex-CJI) Kabir's sister Shukla Kabir Sinha, to the Calcutta High Court.  

 

The activists requested CJI Sathasivam, to get all the facts mentioned in their petition enquired by a completely independent body and take all possible measures, including criminal and administrative measures on extremely critical issues raised in the petition as well as published in various news articles and as leveled by a person of the stature of acting Chief Justice of the Gujarat HC.

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COMMENTS

P M Ravindran

3 years ago

My concern is not just about the leak of the order but the very reason given by Altamas Kabir that a common entrance test would adversely affect minority rights! He has followed the foot steps of KG Balakrishnan in blatantly misusing his position and mocking at the citizens at large, thanks to the criminals who dominate our law making bodies!

REPLY

Ram Prasad Yadav

In Reply to P M Ravindran 3 years ago

His hastily judgement on medical entrance and bias comment on concept of reservation, both are hurting very much to the common people in India. they never forget it, shall never pardon to Mr. CJI Altamas Kabir.

yatinderk

3 years ago

If dignity of judiciary is to be maintained the CJI must order a thorough probe in the matter. Such issues put the judiciary in shadow of doubt.

DrMukesh Yadav

3 years ago

There is need for CBI probe in the matter to look for reasons and such a favoured decision at last hours of retirement.

Thomas Kuruvilla

3 years ago

I have been told that in Jan/Feb this year some doctors in Mumbai were already aware that the NEET would be scrapped & that money in hundreds of crores had exchanged hands with the private medical colleges having given this money. I came to know about this after the SC judgement on NEET was delivered a few days back.

REPLY

MOHAN

In Reply to Thomas Kuruvilla 3 years ago

This is a very serious allegation. Mr. Kuruvilla, are you the person who is known as "pavam payyan' in media circles in Kerala?

Thomas Kuruvilla

In Reply to MOHAN 3 years ago

No, Mohan. I'm not the one.

nagesh kini

3 years ago

The ex-CJI was after all a human like all of us with built in prejudices and bloated egos. Can't stand even right opposition. When his own sister's appointment was stalled he gets annoyed. Who is any one to question when he is still occupying the chair, irrespective of the Presidential warrant of appointment of the new CJI?
A clear case of Caesar's wife should be above suspicion!
So far the SC and our judiciary was the only constitutional authority to remain untainted.
This needs thorough investigation by a multi-disciplinary body of individuals not only from the bar and bench - a mych more wider - with dedicated civil society.

REPLY

Krishna Baalu

In Reply to nagesh kini 3 years ago

Mr NAGESH having said what has been said well said;but m scared of the so called civil society you mentioned at the end hmm dangerous I believe!

nagesh kini

In Reply to Krishna Baalu 3 years ago

Krishna you certainly should not stuff the committee with the members of the same tribe - law.
The civil society is a healthy mix of men and women from all walks of life,media journalists, accountants,doctors and engineers et al. Where else can you come across dedicated individuals? There may be some black sheep, you can't apply the same brush to one and all. There are good people too !

Suman Mukherjee

3 years ago

The question is why was the new Chief Justice of India, Mr.Palanisamy Sathasivam appointed by the UPA Government inspite of opposition from the outgoing CJ, Mr.Altamas Kabir?

Is it because of his caste? Or did he represent some backward (depressed) caste community?

What was the real reason for his appointment, will the UPA government please spell out...?

Also, can the Upper Caste (or Forward Caste or whatever you call this group) expect anything from the current UPA Government?

SuchindranathAiyerS

3 years ago

Chief Justices may come and Chief Justices may go but the sole lode star of Indian jursiprudence will remain "The Balance of Convenience". Ask Prashant Bhushan.

MOHAN

3 years ago

His judgement of scrapping of NEET was really shocking !!

Sports Ministry recommends Bharat Ratna for Hockey legend Dhyan Chand

The clamour may have been for Sachin Tendulkar but the sports ministry has recommended hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand’s name for the Bharat Ratna

The sports ministry has recommended hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand’s name for India’s highest civilian honour - the Bharat Ratna. By doign so, the ministry seems to have ignored demand from several quarters to recommend name of Sachin Tendulkar, the cricket legend.

 

Sports Secretary PK Deb said, “The letter recommending the Bharat Ratna for Dhyan Chand has already been sent to the Prime Minister. The Ministry has only recommended Dhyan Chand’s name for the highest honour".

 

Earlier, in 2011, the Government had ignored the plea of 82 Members of Parliament, who recommended Dhyan Chand’s name for the Bharat Ratna. However, in January 2012, the ministry itself forwarded Dhyan Chand's name along with Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra and mountaineer Tenzing Norgay for the award.

 

However, Tendulkar’s name was not given by the ministry as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had not recommended him for the highest award in the country.

 

The recommendation sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, will be studied further before it goes for approval by President Pranab Mukherjee, for the hockey wizard to get the award posthumously.

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RBI goes fishing for NBFCs

With attention of the RBI offices diluted into thousands of non-descript companies, the big fish continue to have a field day right under the nose of the RBI

Unable to save lakhs of investors from losing thousands of crores, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has started fishing for non-banking finance companies (NBFCs). It has recently shot thousands of notices to companies asking to send their annual reports, for the RBI to examine whether the company is an NBFC or not. The same RBI slept over the years as Sahara collected in excess of Rs20,000 crore.

 

All this, surprisingly, comes just in the backdrop of the Usha Thorat Panel Report, which sought a major recast of NBFC regulation. RBI itself has published an advanced notice of rule-making, seeking to exempt companies, except those very large, from registration requirements. As of March 2012, RBI was monitoring some 12,385 companies registered as NBFCs. As if this was not enough, RBI has sent roving mailers to all those companies bearing registration with the Registrars of Companies (ROC) under a “financial code” asking them to send their annual reports and details of other companies in same group, so that the banking regulator could ensure that the company is not an NBFC.
 

In other words, by default, every company is an NBFC, unless the RBI concludes otherwise, or at least, every company with a financial code registration. A ‘financial code’ is a vast code and includes all financial intermediation, except insurance and pension funding (division 65 as per National Industrial Classification -NIC code 2004) and all activities auxiliary to financial intermediation (division within its ambit).
Financial intermediation activities include loan, hire purchase, investment, mutual fund, housing finance, chit funds, leasing and other related financial activities. However, it is pertinent to note that division 67 ‘Activities auxiliary to financial intermediation’ includes financial and mortgage advisory, brokers and security-dealing activities on behalf of others. Thus, the companies proposing to render financial advisory have no other option but to select the financial code at the time of incorporation.

 

As per the annual report of Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), 31.57% of total companies which got registered during the year 2012-13 (till December 31, 2012) were registered under ‘Finance, Insurance, Real estate and Renting, Business Services’ head forming the largest chunk among all other categories. Last year also maximum companies were registered under the said head aggregating to 41.83% of the total. It is quite apparent that there will be some lakhs of companies registered under ‘financial code’. Is RBI intending to send notices to all such companies?

 

The efficiency of any regulation lies in relevance of the regulation and not its expansiveness. The more expansive, the shallower. Hence, Usha Thorat Panel recommended the RBI to focus on the big fish.
 

Apparently, the move of the RBI to send fishing letters is deplorable. If all that the RBI needs to know, by looking at the balance sheets of the companies, is to find out whether the company is a financial company or not, the balance sheets of the companies are on the website of the ROC, and they are available for download.
 

In addition, the RBI instituted a system of auditor’s report in terms of Non Banking Financial Companies Auditors’ Report (Reserve Bank) Directions, 2008. In this system, every auditor of a company is also supposed to report, both to the Board of Directors and the RBI, as to whether the company is carrying a financial activity and the company has registration with the regulator to do so. The auditor is required to make an exception report to the RBI if the company is carrying on a financial business, and is not registered with the central bank.
 

As if throwing the obligation of registration with the respective companies coupled with a secondary check by the auditing professionals was not sufficient, the RBI now wants to get into action directly by instructing all companies to communicate to the RBI their financials. It is almost like the local police office calling all citizens to be examined by the police to ensure that they have not done any crime.
 

It is this expansive regulatory attitude that is largely responsible for the present plight of millions of depositors in the country. With attention of the RBI offices diluted into thousands of non-descript, companies, the big fish continue to have a field day right under the nose of the RBI.
 

(Vinod Kothari is a chartered accountant, trainer and author. He is an expert in such specialised areas of finance as securitisation, asset-based finance, credit derivatives, accounting for derivatives and financial instruments and microfinance. The writers can be contacted at [email protected] and [email protected])

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COMMENTS

M G WARRIER

3 years ago

Very true. I liked the analogy of local police station calling every citizen and asking to prove innocence. But, right from GOI down to Gram Panchayat, there is a tendency to keep regulatory controls centralised. In the Indian context, there is need to ensure compliance at field level by exemplary punishment to the guilty fast. In the financial sector, the multitude of institutional arrangements and shifting of responsibility from one institution to another or between central and state governments give scope for miscreants to escape. The situation is made more complex by political support to violations in various ways.

nagesh kini

3 years ago

As a former RBI appointed auditor of a major NBFC I fully agree with Vinod.
RBI is barking up the wrong tree in making roving enquiries, sending mailers to all sundry with a remote 'finance' added on to their names.
The RBI, as very rightly suggested by the Thorat Committee, should necessarily go after the Auditors' Report or absence thereof, only of the bigger NBFCs and not go after small fry. Missing the forest for the woods!

nagesh kini

3 years ago

As a former RBI appointed auditor of a major NBFC I fully agree with Vinod.
RBI is barking up the wrong tree in making roving enquiries, sending mailers to all sundry with a remote 'finance' added on to their names.
The RBI, as very rightly suggested by the Thorat Committee, should necessarily go after the Auditors' Report or absence thereof, only of the bigger NBFCs and not go after small fry. Missing the forest for the woods!

Ramesh Poapt

3 years ago

Even RBI has not free hand in performing surgery on criticaly sick PSU banks!

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