SC junks plea against judges with a rap on knuck­les for ad­vo­cate

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES NATION - @times­group.com

New Delhi: The tu­mult in the coun­try’s top 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 pe­ti­tion 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 the court 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, the 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.”

Con­clud­ing the 38-page judg­ment on a con­cil­ia­tory note, the bench said, “Let good sense pre­vail over the le­gal fra­ter­nity and amends be made as a lot of un­called-for dam­age has been made to the great in­sti­tu­tion in which the 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 the re­cusal of Jus­tice Khan­wilkar. The three-judge bench found the re­quest “con­temp­tu­ous”.

The bench said it was “far-fetched and unimag­in­able” to at­tempt con­nect­ing the ar­rest of an ex-judge of Orissa HC in the med­i­cal scam case with the pro­ceed­ings be­fore a bench headed by CJI Di­pak Misra, which in fact had re­fused any re­lief to the col­lege in ques­tion.

“Th­e­sub­mis­sions so raised... in this pe­ti­tion, 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. It passes com­pre­hen­sion how it was that the pe­ti­tioner pre­sumed that there is an FIR lodged against any pub­lic func­tionary,” the bench said.

It re­jected the pe­ti­tioner’s ar­gu­ments that the CJI should not have ju­di­cially or ad­min­is­tra­tively dealt with her pe­ti­tion as it con­cerned pro­ceed­ings in the CJI’s court and that it should have been heard by a bench of the first five se­nior judges as di­rected by Jus­tice J Che­lameswar on Thurs­day.

The bench said, “It ap­pears that in order to achieve this end, the par­tic­u­lar re­quest has been made by fil­ing suc­ces­sive petitions day af­ter the other and prayer was made to avoid the CJI to ex­er­cise power for al­lo­ca­tion of cases which was clearly an at­tempt at fo­rum-hunt­ing and has to be dep­re­cated in the strong­est pos­si­ble words.

“Mak­ing such scan­dalous remarks also tan­ta­mounts to in­ter­fer­ing with ad­min­is­tra­tion of jus­tice...Such things can­not be ig­nored and re­cusal of a judge can­not be asked for on the ground of con­flict of in­ter­est. It would be the sad­dest day for the ju­di­cial sys­tem of this coun­try to ig­nore such as­pects on un­founded al­le­ga­tions and ma­te­ri­als.” For the full re­port, log on to

www.time­sofindia.com

AP

‘CON­DUCT UN­ETH­I­CAL’

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