"There is a concerted campaign to defame the judiciary," said Chief Justice of India RM Lodha in a veiled attack against Press Council chairman Justice Markandey Katju and the Central government for its proposal to do away with the collegium system.
"Don't shake the confidence of people in judiciary. We all are products of the collegium system. I was in the first batch of judges while justice Rohington F Nariman is the last as of now appointed by collegium. If the system is failed, all its products have failed..." Justice Lodha, who is heading a three-judge bench, said while defending the existing collegium system, which the Centre is considering to replace with National Judicial Commission (JAC).
Indicating to Justice Katju's revelation on corruption in judiciary, the Chief Justice said, "a campaign is going to defame the judiciary. To carry on a campaign just because of allegations against one or two judges is unfair."
Dropping bombshells one after another, Justice Katju on Sunday said he had given mobile numbers to the then CJI Justice SH Kapadia to find out facts following corruption allegations against three Allahabad high court judges which were later found to be true.
Justice Katju further said he has also brought similar cases to the notice of former CJI Justice RC Lahoti, who had transferred the corrupt judges to various places.
However, rubbishing Katju's charge that he ordered tapping of the telephone of a former judge of Allahabad high court, former S H Kapadia said as CJI he could not be expected to do any unauthorised job. "You can't expect the Chief Justice to do any unauthorised job. Unless name of such judge is dropped, I cannot respond," Justice Kapadia said while reacting to Katju's allegation in a blog post.
Justice Lodha expressed anguish over various media reports pertaining corruption in judiciary including alleged controversial Karnataka high court judge, Justice Manjunath's reported appointment as chief justice of Punjab and Haryana high court .
He made it clear that collegium has not recommended his name for appointment and the reports are based on incorrect facts. "We have not recommended Justice Manjunath's name. Media reports are based on wrong facts. Repeated attempts were made in spreading something wich is factually incorrect. We have our limitations. Our prime role is to discharge the judicial duties but not to explain to others," CJI said.
He was hearing a PIL filed by an advocate Ram Sankar seeking the apex court to upload on its official website all informations relating to the lawyers or judges whose names were recommended for appointment in high courts or Supreme Court.