Justice Sikri Refuses Govt Offered Post-Retirement Position Amid Controversy Over Alok Verma's Removal
Supreme Court Justice AK Sikri turned down the month-old post-retirement offer from the central government. He withdrew his consent to be appointed to the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT) after his selection was linked to the decision of transferring ex-CBI Chief Alok Verma.
Appointment to CSAT & CBI Chief ouster
In the first week of December last year, the Modi government had decided to nominate Justice Sikri to the vacant post of president/member at CSAT. He was supposed to join his new position, post his retirement on March 6, as reported by The Print.
On January 10, Justice Sikri formed a member of the PM-led panel which was to decide on the fate of now ousted CBI chief Alok Verma. The panel consisted of PM Modi, the leader from the Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge and Justice Sikri on behalf of the Chief Justice. Except for Kharge, the other two members of the panel voted in favour of Verma’s transfer. This decision was termed by many as hasty and allegations were rife that Verma was not given the chance to present his side. Kharge wrote a long dissent note, questioning the rationale behind removing Verma from the position.
Sikri’s selection to a high profile role and his vote favouring the centre’s view has led many to speculate the relation between the two.
“Pained by recent developments”
Soon after The Print reported about Justice Sikri’s selection to CSAT and the news started gaining momentum, Justice Sikri wrote to law ministry withdrawing his consent, as reported by The Indian Express. Justice Sikri expressed “pain” over connection being drawn between his appointment and the transfer of Verma. In his letter to the law ministry, he wrote that he was “pained by the recent developments”, further adding, “I am withdrawing my consent…please do not process.”
Members of CSAT are “selected by Commonwealth Governments on a regionally representative basis from among persons of high moral character who must hold or have held high judicial office in a Commonwealth country… The members are appointed on a four-year term which may be renewed only once”.