//Ex-CJI spurns OBC panel post, Centre left red-faced

Ex-CJI spurns OBC panel post, Centre left red-faced

Manoj Mitta[ Thursday, May 04, 2006 12:28:36 amTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]

NEW DELHI: Former chief justice of India S Rajendra Babu has embarrassed the government by declining to head the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) even after his appointment was notified in the gazette.

But Justice Babu told TOI that he was not to blame for this unusual situation because the social justice ministry had failed to consult him before initiating the process of issuing the notification in February.

"I got the offer for the first time only a day or two before they issued the notification," Babu said. "Even then, I told them clearly that, having held the highest judicial post in the country, I was not interested in taking up an assignment under any ministry."

So, why did the government still notify his appointment as chairperson of NCBC, a post that has anyway been vacant since August 2005? "Well, that is for them to explain. My own guess it was too late for the government to recall the publication of the gazette," Babu said.

Responding to a question, Babu, who was CJI for a month in 2004, denied that his decision to keep away from NCBC was related to the ongoing controversy over the proposed OBC reservations in central educational institutions.

That might well be so because the notification appointing him to NCBC came weeks before HRD minister dropped the quota bombshell on April 5 in the course of a media interaction.