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