Day after miffed Justice AK Sikri withdrew his consent to a government offer to nominate him in the London-based Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT), Justice Markandey Katju, the former Supreme Court judge defended him in a lengthy Facebook post. On Monday, Justice Katju called Justice Sikri “an outstanding, totally upright, extremely competent and hard-working judge.” Talking about his ‘Chief Justice’ days, Katju wrote, “I can personally vouch (for Justice Sikri) as I was his Chief Justice in the Delhi High Court when he was a puisne judge in that Court, and I knew him intimately.”
Talking about media reports, Justice Katju said that, “a half truth can be as bad, if not worse than a total lie, as stated in the Latin maxim ' Suppressio veri suggestio falsus ' ( i.e. suppression of the truth is equivalent to expression of a falsehood ).” Clarifying the timeline of the events, Katju wrote that calling the CSAT posting as ‘plum job’ was ‘fake news’. He said that, “no regular salary is paid to its members. So, the Tribunal members are not like judges of the International Court of Justice who sit permanently at The Hague and are paid regular salary.”
Later, talking about the ‘consent’, Justice Katju said that, “When he (Justice Sikri) gave his consent to be on the CSAT in the first week of December 2018, Justice Sikri was not a member of the High-Powered Committee, and even the Supreme Court judgment of 8.1.2019 had not come.” “So how can it be insinuated that the nomination of Justice Sikri to the CSAT was a quid pro quo for his decision to remove Verma from the CBI,” Justice Katju asked.
On Sunday, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had also raised questions over Justice Sikri. Citing a media report, Congress president said in a tweet that "when the scales of justice are tampered with, anarchy reigns".
Justice Sikri was part of the three-member panel along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior Congress leader Mallikajurn Kharge which decided on removal of Verma from the post of CBI Director. Sikri's vote proved crucial to remove Verma from his post as Kharge opposed the move strongly while the government was pushing for Verma's removal.