‘Judge-mid­dle­man nexus’: SC dis­misses plea for SIT probe

Doesn’t Slap Con­tempt Charge On Ad­vo­cates

The Times of India (Mumbai edition) - - TIMES NATION - Dhanan­jay.Ma­ha­p­a­tra @times­group.com

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.

UP­HOLD­ING DIG­NITY

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