SC re­jects plea for probe into al­leged judges bribery scam

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Nation - Bhadra Sinha

NEW DELHI: A Supreme Court bench re­jected on Tues­day a pe­ti­tion seek­ing a court-mon­i­tored in­ves­ti­ga­tion into an al­leged bribery racket that is said to have at­tempted to sway mem­bers of the ju­di­ciary.

The pe­ti­tion was seen to have di­vided mem­bers of the top court last week, when a con­sti­tu­tional bench passed a rul­ing say­ing only the chief jus­tice was au­tho­rised to as­sign cases — over­turn­ing a fel­low judge’s order that would have sent the pe­ti­tion to a five-judge bench. “We hope all will work and unite for the wel­fare of this in­sti­tu­tion. Even we are not above the law but ev­ery­thing needs to be as per the law,” the judges said, re­ject­ing the plea filed by lawyer Kamini Jaiswal.

Jus­tice Arun Misra, the judge who au­thored the ver­dict, said no


judge was men­tioned in the FIR filed by the Cen­tral Bureau of In­ves­ti­ga­tion (CBI) against the UP or­gan­i­sa­tion — Prasad Ed­u­ca­tional Trust. “Case didn’t men­tion any judge nor it could as per law. No mat­ter was pend­ing in SC when FIR was reg­is­tered.”

The three-judge bench said the pe­ti­tion was con­temp­tu­ous in na­ture, but it stopped short of ini­ti­at­ing con­tempt pro­ceed­ings.

The court also said the se­nior ad­vo­cate who men­tioned the pe­ti­tion be­fore the other judge, jus­tice J Che­lameswar, in­dulged in “fo­rum shop­ping” and did not in­form the court about the sec­ond case. Fo­rum shop­ping refers to the prac­tice of lit­i­gants ap­proach­ing courts that are thought most likely to give a favourable ver­dict. The pe­ti­tion was men­tioned in front of jus­tice Che­lameswar a day af­ter it was pre­sented be­fore an­other set of judges. Jus­tice Che­lameswar re­ferred the mat­ter to a Con­sti­tu­tion bench, but this order was struck down later.

Ac­cord­ing to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion be­ing car­ried out by the CBI, Luc­know-based Prasad Ed­u­ca­tion Trust al­legedly paid money to mid­dle­men who promised to se­cure a favourable rul­ing re­gard­ing its med­i­cal col­lege li­cences. The trust’s colleges had been banned by the Union health min­istry from ad­mit­ting stu­dents, a ban against which it went to court. Re­tired Orissa high court judge Ishrat Mas­roor Qud­dusi is one of the key ac­cused.

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