Yelling at Me Won't Change the Facts, Justice Katju

Published: July 21, 2014 12:49 IST
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(Nidhi Razdan is a senior editor with NDTV and the anchor of NDTV 24X7's prime-time show Left, Right and Centre.)

Justice Markandey Katju has always been a colourful character, never one to mince his words, often raising valid issues for debate but at other times making highly controversial statements. Which is why his sensational allegation today that three former Chief Justices of India had made 'improper compromises' in allowing an allegedly corrupt judge to continue in office has created a major storm.

The claim made by Justice Katju, who retired as a senior judge of the Supreme Court, is serious and one that deserves to be investigated. Judicial corruption is an issue that needs much more attention and political interference in the appointment of senior judges is a worry that needs much greater scrutiny.

But Justice Katju has failed to explain why he chose to speak out now. Why did Justice Katju keep quiet about this matter all these years? He first heard of the matter ten years ago as Chief Justice of the Madras High Court. When I asked Justice Katju this question, he said it was irrelevant, that it did not matter, and that what is important is the content of what he disclosed.

I persisted and said the timing WAS important since it was a serious allegation and one that should have been revealed much earlier. An angry Justice Katju lost his temper said he was "warning" me "not to persist" with my line of questioning and then stormed out while on air.

It is not the first time he has done so. Last year, on my programme 'Left Right and Centre', he got furious during another panel discussion and declared on national tv that I was not fit to anchor. This morning, five minutes before we went on air, Justice Katju spoke to me over the phone and said "You better not ask me nasty questions, you better be courteous. I walked out of your show last time and said I would never come back, but I am doing you a favour today. You better learn how to behave, you don't know how to behave". I was taken aback but politely told him I will be courteous as I always am with guests. Which is why, I presume, when he stormed out in anger a few minutes later, he declared 'I warned you'.

While Justice Katju's claims certainly need answers from the former Chief Justices he has named and from the UPA, he also needs to explain his own silence all these years and the sudden decision to go public. Justice Katju may not like those questions, and he may think I need behaviour lessons for the same, but those questions won't go away. Yelling at me won't change those facts.

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