Thursday, May 10, 2012 - 0 comments

K. G. Balakrishnan




  • Konakuppakatil Gopinathan Balakrishnan (b. 12 May 1945) is presently the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of India. He is a former Chief Justice of India.
  • He was the first judge from the state of Kerala to become the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was also the first person of Dalit origin to ascend to the post of the Chief Justice in the Supreme Court of India. His tenure lasting more than three years has been one of the longest in the Supreme Court of India.

Public stances, opinions and views

  • Balakrishnan has tried to exempt the Office of the Chief Justice of India from the purview of the Right to Information Act. He ordered the Supreme Court registry to file an appeal before the Supreme Court against the Delhi High Court judgement making the office of the CJI amenable to the RTI act. He has also spoken about the need for amending the RTI act in the interests of the right to privacy.
  • Balakrishnan has said "due regard" must be given to the "personal autonomy" of rape victims to decide on whether they should marry the perpetrator or choose to give birth to a child conceived through forced crime. Lawyers and women's rights activists have expressed some reservations. 
  • Balakrishnan has stated that pornography sites and hate speeches should be banned from the internet. He also passed a judgment stating that journaling on the web any thing hateful even against a political party is liable for censorship.
  • On a visit to Kasaragode as NHRC Chairman initiating suo motu complaint, Balakrishnan felt there had been violations of human rights against the populace by the harmful spraying of the pesticide Endosulfan, and recommended the founding of a super-speciality hospital for the relief of the victims.

Controversies

  • Justice H. L. Gokhale of the Supreme Court has accused Balakrishnan of misrepresenting facts to conceal sacked telecom minister A. Raja's attempt to influence Justice R. Reghupathy of the Madras High Court, on behalf of two murder accused known to the DMK leader.
  • Balakrishnan's son-in-law and Indian Youth Congress leader P. V. Srinijan, who did not have any land four years ago, is now the owner of property worth hundreds of thousands of rupees. According to a report by news channel Asianet News, Srinijan had declared while contesting as a Congress candidate in the 2006 Assembly elections that he had no landed property. He had contested unsuccessfully from the SC reserved constituency of Njarackal in Ernakulam. In light of the charges, Srinijan resigned from the Youth Congress. Former Chief Justice J. S. Verma, former apex court Judge V. R. Krishna Iyer, noted jurist Fali S. Nariman, former member of NHRC Sudarshan Agrawal and the prominent activist lawyer Prashant Bhushan have called for Justice Balakrishnan to step down from the chairmanship of the NHRC pending an inquiry into the matter.
  • A petition-seeking vigilance probe into the allegations of "amassment of wealth disproportionate to their sources of income" by Balakrishnan's family members, was filed before the Income Tax Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau. The income tax department confirmed recently that at least three of his relatives had held a large amount of black money.
  • In February 2012, the Supreme Court of India in a case filed by the NGO Common Cause, inquired of the government as to the progress in the probe against Justice Balakrishnan



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