‘Judge-middleman nexus’: SC dismisses plea for SIT probe
Doesn’t Slap Contempt Charge On Advocates
New Delhi: The tumult in the Supreme Court over the alleged role of judges in admissions to private medical colleges ended on a rather tame note on Tuesday, with a three-judge bench rejecting the plea seeking an SIT probe into the matter while limiting itself to merely “deprecating” the conduct of advocate-petitioner Kamini Jaiswal as “unethical, unwarranted and contemptuous”.
Just a day after feverish proceedings in the court when it repeatedly warned the petitioner against committing contempt, the bench decided to exercise restraint in order to not deepen the crisis within and the split in the bar. It said the power to initiate contempt called for extreme care and caution for securing public respect and care for the judicial process.
The reluctance to take action notwithstanding, the bench minced few words in delineating the offence it found the petitioner guilty of.
After dismissing the petition, a bench of Justices R K Agrawal, Arun Mishra and A M Khanwilkar said, “It is the duty of the bar and the bench to protect the dignity of the entire judicial system. We find that filing of such petitions and the zest with which it is pursued has brought the entire system in the last few days to unrest... We deprecate the conduct of forum-hunting, that too involving senior lawyers of this court. Such conduct is wholly unethical, unwarranted and nothing but forum-hunting.”
Concluding the 38-page judgment on a conciliatory tone, the bench said, “Let good sense prevail over the legal fraternity and amends be made as lot of uncalled for damage has been made to the great institution in which public reposes their faith.”
Jaiswal had engaged senior advocates Dushyant Dave, Shanti Bhushan and Prashant Bhushan on three different days — Thursday, Friday and Monday— to argue her petition in the SC. On Monday, the Bhushans had requested recusal of Justice Khanwilkar. The three-judge bench found the request for Justice Khanwilkar’s recusal “contemptuous”. The bench said it was far fetched and unimaginable to attempt connecting the arrest of an exjudge of Orissa high court in the medical scam case with the proceedings before a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, which in fact had refused any relief to the medical college in question.
“The submissions so raised ... and the entire scenario created by filing of two successive petitions, are really disturbing. The entire judicial system has been unnecessarily brought into disrepute for no good cause whatsoever. It passes comprehension how it was that the petitioner presumed there is an FIR lodged against any public functionary. There is an averment made in the writ petition that it is against the highest judicial functionaries, that the FIR has been recorded,” the bench said. It rejected the petitioner’s arguments that the CJI should not have judicially or administratively dealt with her plea as it concerned proceedings in the CJI’s court and should have been heard by a bench of the first five senior judges as directed by Justice J Chelameswar on Thursday.