Will SC look within, ex­am­ine at­tempts to in­flu­ence its judges? Call to be taken today

The New Indian Express - - FRONT PAGE - @ New Delhi

THE Supreme Court will de­cide on Tues­day whether a pe­ti­tion seek­ing a ju­di­cial probe into al­le­ga­tions that at­tempts were made to bribe apex court judges can be en­ter­tained. In the hear­ing, a three-judge bench headed by Jus­tice RK Agrawal said it was likely to pass an order in the mat­ter on Tues­day.

This is the same case that was re­ferred to a con­sti­tu­tion bench of five most se­nior judges by Jus­tices J Che­lameswar and Ab­dul Nazeer on Novem­ber 9. In­stead, Chief Jus­tice Di­pak Misra hur­riedly set up a sep­a­rate five-judge bench on Novem­ber 10, which re­called Jus­tice Che­lameswar’s order and sent the case to a three­judge bench he picked.

The volatile hear­ing saw the bench ques­tion­ing ad­vo­cate Prashant Bhushan, whether fil­ing of two iden­ti­cally-worded petitions was not a mat­ter of pro­pri­ety and whether it would not amount to fo­rum shop­ping if it was sought to be listed be­fore a par­tic­u­lar bench.

Jus­tice Arun Mishra told Bhushan, “Be­cause of your act, the whole coun­try is doubt­ing the cred­i­bil­ity of this in­sti­tu­tion. This pe­ti­tion has dam­aged the im­age of the most im­por­tant judge, the CJI, of this court. Dam­ages have been done to a great ex­tent.”

Se­nior ad­vo­cate Shanti Bhushan, ap­pear­ing for Kamini Jaiswal, ques­tioned why the com­po­si­tion of the benches was changed and said, “Which bench will be ap­pro­pri­ate to hear this pe­ti­tion?”

Shanti also pointed out that Jus­tice A M Khan­wilkar should not be part of the bench as he had dealt with the med­i­cal col­lege case di­rectly. All three judges who heard the case on Mon­day were also part of the con­sti­tu­tion bench set up by the CJI on Novem­ber 10.

Jus­tice Arun Mishra said, “The FIR is against a re­tired judge. Today we will an­swer all your queries. We will also let you know why the CJI today is not on this bench.”

Shanti re­sponded, “Al­le­ga­tions in FIR are im­pli­cat­ing cor­rup­tions in func­tion­ing of this court. Ju­di­cial au­thor­ity in­cludes ev­ery au­thor­ity of the court, in­clud­ing each and ev­ery bench of the Supreme Court. When the order to in­clude five se­nior-most judges of the Supreme Court was passed, it is bind­ing on ev­ery bench in­clud­ing the CJI. Ar­ti­cle 142 is bind­ing on the Chief Jus­tice, ac­cord­ing to which a Supreme Court judge can pass any order to do com­plete jus­tice.”

FIR is against a re­tired judge. Today we will an­swer all your queries. We will also let you know why the CJI today is not on this bench Jus­tice Arun Mishra

THE Supreme Court will de­cide on Tues­day whether a pe­ti­tion seek­ing a ju­di­cial probe into al­le­ga­tions that at­tempts were made to bribe apex court judges can be en­ter­tained.

Dur­ing the hear­ing on Mon­day, Jus­tice Misra said, “A sim­i­lar pe­ti­tion was filed by the Cam­paign for Ju­di­cial Ac­count­abil­ity and Re­forms (CJAR) and sim­i­lar grounds are al­ready de­cided. Can sim­i­lar petitions be filed by the same per­son who is the mem­ber of same as­so­ci­a­tion? Kamini Jaiswal is a mem­ber of CJAR.”

At­tor­ney gen­eral K K Venugopal said the pe­ti­tioner should with­draw the plea as it has cost the rep­u­ta­tion of the in­sti­tu­tion. How­ever, the AG clar­i­fied that his views were in­de­pen­dent and do not rep­re­sent the views of the gov­ern­ment.

Ad­di­tional so­lic­i­tor gen­eral Tushar Me­hta told the bench, “Sec­ond pe­ti­tioner had knowl­edge about the first pe­ti­tion, thus the sec­ond one was an at­tempt to scan­dalise the court.”

Through­out the hear­ing, Jus­tice Arun Mishra, was the most vo­cal one and pulled up both son and fa­ther Bhushan for draw­ing a com­par­i­son be­tween Court No 1 and Court No 2 and said, “Why are you in­volv­ing Court no 2 (Jus­tice J Che­lamesh­war and Jus­tice Ab­dul Nazeer) in all your ar­gu­ments, all courts are sim­i­lar for us. Court no 1 (Chief Jus­tice of In­dia) and all other courts are equal. We all are gems to the same in­sti­tu­tion.”

Prashant Bhushan said, “CJI should not have passed an ad­min­is­tra­tive order to change the bench. The pe­ti­tion is of se­ri­ous is­sues. The probe has to be car­ried out by the SIT, headed by the CJI and mon­i­tored by this court. Mat­ter is a sen­si­tive mat­ter, that’s why I re­quested for the con­sti­tu­tion bench of five most se­nior judges of the court.”

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