Author: Ms. Ambuja Jain, ICFAI Law School, Dehradun.
JUSTICE ADARSH SEIN ANAND
Hon’ble Justice AdarshSeinAnand was the 29th Chief Justice of India, succeeding Justice Madan Mohan Punchhi. He was appointed as CJI on 10 October 1998 and served till 31 October 2001. He was appointed by President K. R. Narayanan. Before being appointed as CJI, he was appointed as a judge of Supreme Court on 18 November 1991.
He was born on 1 November 1936 at Jammu. He received his early education from Model Academy, Jammu and graduated from the Jammu and Kashmir University. He obtained his law degree from the Lucknow University in 1960 and completed his PhD on Constitutional law of the Commonwealth from University College London.
Justice Adarsh Anand began his career as a barrister-at-law from Society of the Inner Temple. He enrolled himself as an advocate at the Bar Council on 9 November 1964. He practised in Punjab and Haryana High Court. He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High court on 26 May 1975.
On 11 May 1985, he was appointed as the Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir Court. He was subsequently transferred as the Chief Justice of Madras High court on 1 November 1989. From there he was elevated to the Supreme Court in November 1991.
He was elected as the President of the International Institute of Human Rights Society in 1996. He is the first Indian who had been awarded the fellowship of University College London on 19 May 1997. In 1998 he was appointed as the Chief Justice of India.
After completing his term as CJI, he was appointed as the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission on 17 February 2003. He was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan award in January 2008.
On February 2010, he took over as the chairman of a five-member committee set up to examine the safety aspects of the Mullaperiyar dam in Kerala. He wrote a book called ‘The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir- Its Development and Comments’. He was known for his strong views against human rights violations. He was a jurist, constitutional expert, academician, author and human rights activist. On 1 December 2017, he took his last breath.
Senior Advocate Prashant Bhushan moved an application accusing eight Chief Justices of India of ‘corruption’, and had dared the court to send him to jail for committing ‘contempt of court’. The eight alleged corrupt CJIs were termed as ‘definitely corrupt’ by him, who featured in this list. Justice AdarshSeinAnand was one of the CJI whose name appeared in this list. Prashant Bhushan alleged that JusticeAnand gave favourable orders in the case of an accused from whom he accepted a 2 Kanal plot of land in Srinagar.
Prashant Bhushan also alleged that Justice Anand had abetted his wife and mother-in-law in filing a suit based on false averments in a civil court in Madhya Pradesh and had got the revenue authorities to suppress the record of the proceedings and the state government to withdraw the Special Leave Petition filed against his wife.
Another allegation was that Justice Anand had bought a plot of land at Gandhinagar in Jammu from the state government for a price much lower than the market price and had given a false affidavit that he owned no land or immovable property in Jammu.
Evidence of several acts of very serious misconduct came into light and was obtained by the Committee of Judicial Accountability. As a result of this, the committee had prepared an impeachment motion against Justice Anand. But the motion got failed as the required number of MPs did not sign.
Custodial Death– Mr. D. K. Basu made a letter to the Chief Justice of India drawing his attention to the issue regarding the deaths in police lock up and custody. His letter was treated as a Writ Petition. Later on, another letter was made to the Chief Justice of India by Mr. Ashok Kumar Johri drawing his attention to the death of Mahesh Bihari of Pilkhana, Aligarh in Police Custody. In this case, Justice AdarshAnand laid down 11 important guidelines against custodial torture that police personnel detaining or arresting any suspect or accused must follow. These guidelines help in protecting the rights of prisoners.
Compensation in Custodial Death– In this case, a 22-year-old SumanBehera’s body was found on a railway track. Before his death, he had been picked up by local police in connection with a case of theft. His body endured multiple injuries. His mother NilabetiBehera wrote a letter to the Supreme Court alleging that her son had died in police custody. It was concluded that Suman had received those injuries in Police custody. Justice Anand along with Justice J.S. Verma held that public bodies and officials are expected to perform public duties properly and refrain from unlawful actions that are likely to violate an individual’s rights under Article 21 of the Constitution, and had ordered the State of Odisha to pay an amount of Rs.1,50,000 as compensation to Nilabeti.
Contempt of Court– V.C. Mishra was the chairman of the Bar Council in 1994 when Supreme Court found him guilty of contempt of court of Justice S.K. Keshote of the Allahabad High court. He was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment and was also suspended from practising as an advocate for three years.
Later a bench comprising Justice Anand ruled that even if V.C. Mishra was guilty of contempt of court, but it was not such an offence which would attract the punishment given. It was also laid down that the Supreme Court did not have the power to debar any advocate from practising even if it held him guilty of contempt.