Former Supreme Court judge, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan, the author of a 2014 judgment banning jallikattu, moved the Supreme Court against a petition alleging bias against him for receiving the 'Man of the Year' award from People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
Justice Radhakrishnan said there is no constitutional bar on him to receive such an award after retirement as Supreme Court judge. He said he is a private citizen like anyone else in the society.
Invoking Section 3 (1) of the Judges (Protection) Act of 1985, Justice Radhakrishnan contended that no court or any forum can initiate civil or criminal proceedings against him on acts done in the course of his judicial functions.
The petition is likely to come up for hearing on February 13 in the Supreme Court.
The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had recently issued notice on Justice Radhakrishnan in a plea made by Salai Chakrapani, a jallikattu enthusiast.
Mr. Chakrapani had contended that bestowing and receiving of the PETA award was indicative of bias as PETA was a party in the jallikattu litigation which culminted in the ban.
Justice Radhakrishnan merely termed the plea as frivolous and his post-retirement activities as a private citizen was not in anyway related to his judicial functions when he was judge.
The Madurai petition had contended that the receipt of the award was in violation of Article 124 (7) of the Indian Constitution.
In response, Justice Radharishnan contended that Article 124 (7) bars a retired Supreme Court judge only from pleading or acting in any court or before any authority within India and is no way connected to receiving an award.
Mr. Chakrapani had also pleaded that Justice Radhakrishnan be disqualified from being considered for sitting in the Supreme Court as a judge under Article 128 of the Constitution.
Under Article 128, the Chief Justice of India can consider a retired Supreme Court or High Court judge to "sit and act" as a judge of the Supreme Court.
Justice Radhakrishnan, in the Animal Welfare Board of India versus A. Nagaraja verdict which he wrote for the Bench, had held that the practice of Jallikattu amounted to "inherent cruelty" to bulls, inflicting them with unnecessary pain and suffering.