The Madras High Court has issued notice to retired Supreme Court judge, Justice KS Radhakrishnan, in a petition of imploring that the former judge be coordinated to return the honor presented on him by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
The bench of Justice A Selvam and Justice P Kalaiyarasan also issued notice to Secretary- President of India, Ministry of Law and Justice and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Indiain a petition filed by one SalaiChakrapani.
Justice Radhkrishnan was bestowed the ‘Man of the Year Award’ in 2015 for his contribution towards the protection of animals.
Chakrapani’s contention is that Justice Radhakrishnan, who authored the judgment on banning of Jallikattu, should not have received an award from PETA, which is against Jallikattu. PETA was one of the parties to the case before the Supreme Court.
Chakrapani has opposed that accommodating a honour from PETA was proof of predisposition with respect to the judge. The writ appeal to asserted that a former judge couldn’t get a honor – ‘Man of the Year’ – from an association, in whose support the judgment was conveyed.
Chakrapani has also prayed that Justice Radhakrishnan be disqualified from being considered for sitting in the Supreme Court under Article 128.The petitioner also prayed for a direction declaring that the former judge was perpetually disqualified from enjoying post-retiral benefits and would not be reflected for obtaining the status under Article 128 of the Constitution. Article 128 empowers the Chief justice of India to consider a retired judge of Supreme Court or High Court to sit and act as judge of the Supreme Court.
In 2014, PETA India had named Justice KS Radhakrishnan as “Man of the Year”. This was in gratitude of his judgment holding the traditional sport of Jallikattu to be in abuse of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. As a result, the use of bulls in the sport, as well as bullock cart races conducted in the states of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, were banned.
The judgment had created a big public uproar in Tamil Nadu, leading to another round of litigation and an agitation in Chennai, eventually culminating in Tamil Nadu amending the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act to permit Jallikattu.
It is, however, not clear how the Court can issue notice to the President’s office since Article 361 protects the President and Governors from being answerable to any court for any act done in their official capability. It states,
“The President, or the Governor or Rajpramukh of a State, shall not be answerable to any court for the exercise and performance of the powers and duties of his office or for any act done or purporting to be done by him in the exercise and performance of those powers and duties…”