B. N. Srikrishna


B. N. Srikrishna

Justice B.N. Srikrishna (born May 21, 1941) is an Indian jurist and a retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India. From 1993-98, he headed the well-known Commission of Inquiry, the "Srikrishna Commission" as it became known, which investigated causes and apportioned blame for the Bombay Riots of 1992-93.

Education

Born in Bangalore, Justice Bellur Narayanaswamy Srikrishna was brought up in Bombay (now Mumbai) and graduated with a bachelor's degree in Science from the Elphinstone College of the University of Bombay. After he received an LL.B. from the Government Law College, Mumbai, Justice Srikrishna studied for an LL.M. from the University of Bombay, and stood second in the University.

A polymath, who knows twelve languages, Justice Srikrishna holds an M.A. in Sanskrit from the University of Mysore, a diploma in Urdu and a postgraduate diploma in Indian Aesthetics from the University of Bombay.He also headed the 6th pay commission.

Career

In 1967, Justice Srikrishna entered private practice in the Bombay High Court, specializing in labour and industrial law and was counsel for a number of large corporations. Besides appearing in the High Court, he also argued cases in the Supreme Court of India, and was designated as a Senior Advocate in 1987.

Justice Srikrishna was appointed as an additional judge of the Bombay High Court in 1990 and as a permanent judge in 1991. In 1993, he assumed charge of the Commission of Inquiry into the riots that took place in Bombay in 1992-93. The "Srikrishna Commission", as it became known, submitted its report in 1998, and generated widespread interest in India and abroad. In September 2001, Justice Srikrishna was appointed as the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court and on October 3, 2002, was appointed as a Judge of the Supreme Court of India. On May 21, 2006, on reaching the age of superannuation of sixty-five years, Justice Srikrishna retired from the Supreme Court of India.

In September, 2006, Justice Srikrishna was appointed as the chairman of Sixth Pay Commission for Central Government employees.

The Srikrishna Commission and the Bombay Riots

In 1992-93, the city of Mumbai was rocked by communal riots between the Hindu and Muslim communities and bomb blasts perpetrated by Muslim terrorists in collusion with D-Company mafia don Dawood Ibrahim. While communal riots are not unusual in modern Indian history, these riots were particularly startling in light of Mumbai's largely peaceful past. Above all the Bombay Riots appeared to compromise the much-vaunted image of the city as cosmopolitan, secular and tolerant. Further, the riots appeared to solidify the image of Shiv Sena chief Balasaheb Thackeray who scathingly criticised the judiciary.

Justice Srikrishna, then a relatively junior Judge of the Bombay High Court, accepted the task of investigating the causes of the riots, something that many of his colleagues had turned down.Fact|date=February 2007 For five years, until 1998, he examined victims, witnesses and alleged perpetrators. Detractors came initially from left-secular quarters who were wary of a judge who was a devout and practicing Hindu [cite book |last= Mehta|first= Suketu|title= Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found|year= 2004|publisher= Alfred A Knopf|isbn= 0-375-40372-8|pages= 81] . The Commission was disbanded by the Shiv Sena-led government in January 1996 and on public opposition was later reconstituted on 28 May 1996; though when it was reconstituted, its terms of reference were extended to include the Mumbai bomb blasts that followed in March 1993. [Mehta, Deepak and Chatterji, Roma. "Boundaries, Names, Alterities: A Case Study of a 'Communal Riot' in Dharavi, Bombay", in Das, Veena, et al. (eds.) (2001), "Remaking a World: Violence, Social Suffering, and Recovery", pp. 104-05. University of California Press. ISBN 0520223306.]

Justice Srikrishna indicted those responsible for the bloodshed, the Shiv Sena and its cadres.Narula, Smita (1999). "Broken People: Caste Violence Against India's "Untouchables", p. 124, fn. 384. Human Rights Watch. ISBN 1564322289.] For a while its contents were a closely guarded secret and no copies were available. The Shiv Sena government rejected its recommendations. Since under the Commissions of Inquiry Act, an Inquiry is not a court of law (even if it conducts proceedings like a court of law) and the report of an inquiry is not binding on Governments, Srikrishna's recommendations cannot be directly enforced. To this date, the recommendations of the Commission have neither been accepted nor acted upon by the Maharashtra Government.

Academic and personal interests

Justice Srikrishna is deeply interested in refugee law and human rights issues, and besides being a member of the International Association of Refugee Law Judges, has presented papers on the subject. He was invited by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to Geneva for a seminar on "New Forms of Persecution" in 2000, and on the "Justiciability of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights" to New Delhi in 2001.

Justice Srikrishna devotes time to the study of Indian Philosophy & Jurisprudence, and has published a number of articles on the subject, including an article on "Conflict and Harmony: The Genesis of Legal and Social Systems", which is to be published in the journal, "History of Science and Philosophy of Science". He is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Indian Law Institute.

Justice Srikrishna is a Life Member of the National Institute of Personnel Management. He was also associated with the Western Region Committee of the Employers Federation of India, the Industrial Relations Research Association (USA), and the International Bar Association (UK). Justice Srikrishna also dabbles in technology and, besides being one of the earliest owners of a personal computer in India in the 1980s, wrote a computer programme and was invited to present a paper at a computer technology conference in 1985.

He tries to find time to pursue what he says is his "real passion" — Indian classical music and culture. Justice Srikrishna is married to Purnima and has two daughters, Sushma and Sowmya.

References

*Draupadi Rohera, "The sacred space of Justice Srikrishna", "Sunday Times (Times of India)" (Aug. 16, 1998) (discussing Justice Srikrishna's Hindu beliefs and his work with the Commission).
*Mehta, Suketu. "Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found", (2004), Part I Ch. II. ISBN 0375403728.

External links

* [http://www.supremecourtofindia.nic.in/judges/bio/sitting/bns.htm Official Supreme Court of India Biography]
*Justice B.N. Srikrishna, "Skinning a Cat", (2005) 8 SCC (Jour) 3, available at http://www.ebc-india.com/lawyer/articles/2005_8_3.htm (a critique of judicial activism in India).
*Justice B.N. Srikrishna, "Maxwell versus Mimamsa", (2004) 6 SCC (Jour) 49, available at: http://www.ebc-india.com/lawyer/articles/2004v6a5.htm (a critique of Indian and Western interpretative techniques).
*Praveen Swami, "A welter of evidence: How Thackeray and Co. figure in the Srikrishna Commission Report", 17(16) "Frontline" (Aug. 5-18, 2000), available at http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl1716/17160110.htm (examining the Justice Srikrishna Commission's indictment of Bal Thackeray and the Shiv Sena).


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