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HC Refuses CBI Probe Into Katju's Allegations on His Blog

New Delhi: Statements in a blog are personal opinion which cannot be treated as an evidence, the Delhi High Court today said and dismissed a plea for a CBI probe into allegation by Justice (Rtd)
PTI
PTI October 14, 2014 23:55 IST

New Delhi: Statements in a blog are personal opinion which cannot be treated as an evidence, the Delhi High Court today said and dismissed a plea for a CBI probe into allegation by Justice (Rtd) Markandey Katju who had blogged that a former CJI had made "improper compromises" to favour a High Court judge despite adverse IB report against him.

Refusing to intervene into the controversy, a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said a CBI probe cannot be directed merely on the basis of the statements made on a blog and dismissed a PIL seeking probe into the statements made by Katju, ex-Supreme Court judge and Press Council of India Chairman.

"We are unable to understand as to how the matter involves public interest to direct an investigation by CBI at this stage, that too on the basis of the statements made on a blog," it said.

"It is also relevant to note that blog is nothing but a personal website that allows the users to reflect, share opinions and discuss various topics in the form of an online journal and sometimes letting the readers comment on their posts," it said, adding "the statements in a blog are only the personal opinion of the user and cannot take the place of evidence."

The court further said that the issue pertaining to extension given to the Madras High Court judge has already been dealt with by the Supreme Court and there is no need to go into the issue again and also pointed out that the judge has retired in 2009 and later died.

The High Court referred to earlier apex court order which had held that that even newspaper reports are held to be only hearsay evidence and "the same analogy applies to the statements in a blog".

Katju had alleged a former CJI made "improper compromises" and "succumbed to political pressure" in allowing the Tamil Nadu judge to continue despite an "adverse" Intelligence Bureau (IB) report on allegations of corruption against him.

He had alleged the former CJIs had compromised at the instance of UPA government in the wake of pressure from one of its allies, apparently DMK, a charge rubbished by them.

"In view of the said decision of the Supreme Court, it appears to us that the controversy relating to the extension of the term of the said Additional Judge has already been set at rest. Moreover, the learned Judge had retired on attaining the age of superannuation on July 2, 2009 and he had also expired shortly thereafter.

"That being so, we are unable to understand as to how the matter involves public interest to direct an investigation by CBI at this stage, that too on the basis of the statements made on a blog," the court said.

It further said that on the basis of the averments in the present petition, particularly in view of the fact that the issue sought to be raised by the petitioner has already been given a quietus, we are unable to hold that the petition is aimed at redressal of any public wrong or public injury.

"Hence, we are not inclined to entertain the writ petition and the same is accordingly dismissed," the court added.

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