He said in his comments made earlier this week on the procedure followed by courts in disposing of the cases of Ms Jayalalithaa and Mr Khan, there is a reference to "retiring judges" even though "any time I spoke about those cases I have specifically stated that I have no concern regarding the grant of bail or the merit of the judgments".
"And reference to the 'retired judges' was made in questions those were put to me by the public. Be that as it may I think the reference to retired judges is inappropriate, hence, I unconditionally apologise to the concerned and regret that reference," Mr Hegde said in a statement.
Mr Hedge, also former Solicitor General of India, had earlier said that the two judicial decisions have sent a wrong message that the "rich and powerful" can get bail quickly.
"I have been stating from various forums the two instances which have given a bad name to the judiciary -- one is Jayalalithaa's (disproportionate assets) case where after 14 years she got conviction and High Court of Karnataka admitted the appeal but did not give the bail, they go to Supreme Court. Not only bail is granted (within days) -- I am not opposing the grant of bail -- but there was a direction to the High Court to dispose off the case in three months," he had said.
"Similarly is the case of Salman Khan who also got conviction after 14 years in the first Court and High Court granted bail within an hour. Okay. Nothing wrong in granting bail and (the judge) heard cases in two months. Both (in Jayalalithaa's and Salman Khan's cases) are retiring judges," the former Karnataka Lokayukta had said.
Mr Hegde had said the court needed to dispose off urgently matters such as if a man is going to be executed tomorrow or where there is examination the next day and the student is not given hall-ticket.
"But where is the urgency (in Jayalalithaa's and Salman Khan cases)...merely because the rich and powerful, they get the bail and they want their matter to be heard out of turn. I totally oppose this and condemn the two instances", he had said.
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