Justice AK Sikri on Sunday withdrew his consent to a government offer to nominate him for president/member in the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT). Sources close to the second senior-most judge after the Chief Justice of India told news agency PTI that the consent was withdrawn Sunday evening when the judge wrote to the government. "The government had approached him for the assignment last month. He gave his consent. The job required attending two to three hearing per year and came without emoluments," the sources said.
The Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal was established and operates under a Statute agreed by Commonwealth governments in 1995. It was formed to meet the requirements of the Agreed Memorandum on the Commonwealth Secretariat (1964) which was revised by governments in 2005. The CSAT has a full complement of eight members comprising the President and seven other members. The members 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.
Justice Sikri was part of the three-member panel along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior Congress leader Mallikajurn Kharge which decided to remove Alok Verma from the post of CBI director. While Modi and Justice Sikri voted against Verma, Kharge filed a dissent note and contested the CVC report. He had also argued that Verma be given an opportunity to present his case before the selection committee. Verma was transferred as Director General, Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards on Thursday. On Friday, Verma refused to take up the new job and resigned from the Indian Police Service (IPS).
Justice Sikri is set to retire from the Supreme Court on March 6.
Reacting to the issue, 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 #RafaleScam. He’s driven by fear. It’s this fear that is making him corrupt & destroy key institutions.”
When the scales of justice are tampered with, anarchy reigns.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 13, 2019
This PM will stop at nothing, stoop to anything & destroy everything, to cover up the #RafaleScam. He’s driven by fear. It’s this fear that is making him corrupt & destroy key institutions.https://t.co/IfYHf2EMGd
Born on March 7, 1954, Sikri was sworn in as a Supreme Court judge on April 12, 2013. He earlier served as the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
(With PTI inputs)