On Sunday (13 January) Justice AK Sikri of Supreme Court (SC) has reportedly rejected offer of the post of President/Member of the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT), reports Hindustan Times (HT).
Earlier in the day, reports suggesting his appointment to the post started circulating in news outlets. Some opposition parties alleged conspiracy in the nomination since Mr Sikri had voted in agreement with the Prime Minister in the three-member panel (2-1) to remove Alok Verma as the director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The leader of opposition, Mallikarjun Kharge, had submitted a dissenting note.
Congress treasurer Ahmed Patel had tweeted: “The government has a lot of explaining to do.” It should be noted that Mr Sikri was nominated by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi to take part in the panel on his behalf. The CBI-selection panel consists of three members, the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition and the CJI or latter’s representative.
However, the decision to propose the name of Justice Sikri to CSAT was taken by the government in December 2018, before CBI-Alok Verma case took shape.
“Justice Sikri’s consent for the CSAT position by the government was taken in the first week of December, when even the judgment in the Alok Verma case was not pronounced. Moreover, Justice Sikri did not know until today about the nomination. And the CSAT position is honorary and is not based out of London entirely, as the name suggests,” the HT story quoted a source.
Justice Sikri was sworn in as a SC judge on 12 April 2013 and is set to retire in March. He had earlier served as the Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
The tribunal, established in 1964, consists of eight members including the President who must be nationals of Commonwealth Member States. It hears cases involving violation of contracts brought to it by the Commonwealth parties. There lies no appeal against the Tribuna’s decision, which is final and binding.
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