The Supreme Court on Tuesday, November 14, dismissed the petitions by advocate Kamini Jaiswal and the NGO Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform (CJAR), represented by Mr. Prashant Bhushan.
The apex court further described the petitions as “contemptuous, unethical, derogatory and deprecating to the integrity of this great institution.”
The three-judge bench of Justices Arun Mishra, RK Agarwal and AM Khanwilkar, assigned by Chief Justice Dipak Misra to review the petition held that the controversial FIR by CBI is not against any judge nor can an FIR be registered against a judge.
Advocate Jaiswal had petitioned the Supreme Court on Thursday, November 9, for the establishment of an independent Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the allegations of bribery and corruption brought against some of the highest officials of the judiciary.
The case alleged that representatives of the Prasad Education Trust, Lucknow, had bribed some of the highest ranking Judges of the judiciary to rule in their favour and overturn the directions of the Medical Council of India (MCI).
The MCI case registered by the CBI had invoked section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, against Justice of Orissa High Court IM Qudussi, and other unknown public servants.
The matter had been argued by Senior Advocate Dushyant Dave, who had made the unprecedented claim that the CJI Dipak Misra be excluded from any exercising any administrative or judicial powers related to the case.
Advocate Dave had contended that Chief Justice Dipak Misra was on the bench that handled the case, and therefore would present a conflict interest if he were to sit on the bench when the cases were heard in Supreme Court.
“Is CBI trying to discredit the judiciary by foisting false cases on judges? Or is there really something which requires an independent investigation under monitoring of this Court? This is too important a matter not to be thoroughly probed,” Mr. Dave said.
“Personally I want that all allegations against judges of high courts and Supreme Court be proven false, but there must be a fair enquiry for the truth to come out,” Mr. Dave had argued.
The three-judge bench on Tuesday, however, dismissed the petition for an SIT.
On Monday, November 13, in the Supreme Court, Justice Arun Mishra orally called the allegations levelled against the CJI by Mr. Prashant Bhushan as “scurrilous and per se contemptuous.”
Justice Mishra was referring to the heated exchange that took place in the tightly packed Court No. 1 on Friday, November 10, between Mr. Prashant Bhushan and CJI Dipak Misra.
Mr. Bhushan, representing the CJAR, had reportedly been denied a chance to speak, and later engaged in a shouting match with Chief Justice Misra before storming out of the courtroom on Friday.
According to reports, the CJI had warned Mr. Bhushan that he was dangerously close to contempt.
Mr. Bhushan had then asked the CJI to hold him in contempt, at which point Chief Justice Misra replied, “you are not worthy of contempt.”
The five-judge constitution bench on Friday, November 10, had ultimately held that the CJI was the “Master of Rolls”, adding that he alone can assign cases to different benches and decide the composition of benches.
The bench on Tuesday did not, however, initiate contempt proceedings against Mr. Bhushan, Mr. Dave, Ms. Jaiswal or any of the parties.
“It is regrettable that unnecessary doubts have been raised against the judiciary,” said the apex court, ending with the observation by Justice Arun Mishra, “We are not above the law but due process must be followed.”
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