After row, justice Sikri says won’t join C’wealth body
NEWDELHI: Justice AK Sikri withdrew his consent for a place on the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT) on Sunday, hours after a media report over his nomination to the London-based body sparked a political row.
Justice Sikri voted with the government in a three-member committee to remove Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) chief Alok Verma last week.
Second in seniority after Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, justice Sikri was scheduled to join CSAT after his retirement on March 6, news website Theprint reported. The decision to nominate him as president/ member in the international body, which is the final arbiter of disputes between 53 membercountries, was taken by the Union government last month, it said.
Reacting to the report, which came days after Verma was removed in a 2-1 vote by the selection committee, Congress president Rahul Gandhi tweeted: “When the scales of justice are tampered with, anarchy reigns. This PM will stop at nothing, stoop to anything & destroy everything, to cover up the Rafale Scam. He’s driven by fear. It’s this fear that is making him corrupt & destroy key institutions.”
A person familiar with the developments said that justice Sikri has conveyed the withdrawal of his consent for the job to the government on Sunday evening. “Justice Sikri’s consent for the CSAT position by the government was taken in the first week of December, when even the judgment in the Alok Verma case was not pronounced. Moreover, justice Sikri did not know until today about the nomination. And the CSAT position is honorary and is not based out of London entirely, as the name suggests,” the person said on condition of anonymity.
The selection committee, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, also had leader of the largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha, Mallikarjun Kharge, and Justice Sikri, who was nominated by CJI Gogoi after he recused himself following the apex court’s judgment reinstating Verma as the chief of the investigating agency.
Justice AK Sikri